I just saw this on yahoo. Overpaying a player once is OK, as long as you learn from it By David Pinto - SportingNews 12 hours, 29 minutes ago Going into the 2008 season, 124 baseball players hold contracts with an annual salary of $8 million or more. Getting a contract of that value generally means a player has shown his worth with great performances or long-term durability. Teams, however, sometimes overpay for past performance. Eighty-six of those 124 players carried over their contract from the previous season, but some did not produce enough last year to justify the salary paid. By examining these players and their contracts, is it possible to avoid such mistakes in the future? To evaluate a player?s output versus his salary, ?Win Shares? provides a single number of a players value, including batting, fielding and pitching. The Win Shares metric, developed by Bill James, is intended to indicate the number of wins contributed by a certain player. Win Shares per million dollars allows the ranking of players based on bang for the buck. For the players in question here, we use the average number of win shares per season since the signing of the contract, and the average yearly value of the contract. For example, shortstop Orlando Cabrera played three seasons on a contract that averages $8 million annually. In that time, he posted 19.6 Win Shares per season. 19.6 Win Shares divided by $8 million results in Cabrera producing 2.45 Win Shares per million dollars?a good number. For the 86 players we are talking about, the average is 1.4 Win Shares per million dollars. Splitting the players into four groups provides a better way of seeing who is not producing at a level worthy of their contracts. We divided players into batters and pitchers, then subdivided them based on how far into their deals they are?short term (one or two seasons in) and long term (three or more). Bottom five short-term pitchers 5. Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks: 0.3 WS/million. Johnson needed back surgery during the ?07 season. He is throwing well in spring training so far, so it?s possible he can bring up that number in the second year of his contract. 4. Vicente Padilla, Texas Rangers: 0.2 WS/million. He played most of the season, accumulating 23 starts with a 5.76 ERA. He struggled with elbow problems most of the year. 3. Adam Eaton, Philadelphia Phillies: 0.2 WS/million. This was just a bad deal. Eaton never was very good and sustained a strained middle finger tendon in each of his previous two seasons. With the Phillies, he posted the worst ERA of his career. 2. Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals: 0.0 WS/million. Carpenter made one start in ?07 and eventually had to have Tommy John surgery. He?s not expected back until mid to late ?08 at the earliest. He?ll basically provide no value for the first two years of a five-season contract. 1. Jason Schmidt, Los Angeles Dodgers: 0.0 WS/million. Schmidt made six starts in ?07 and pitched very poorly, posting a 6.31 ERA. He missed the rest of the season after shoulder surgery. He has two years left on his contract and threw pain free in his first bullpen session of the spring. Bottom five short-term hitters 5. Nomar Garciaparra, Los Angeles Dodgers: 1.2 WS/million. He could not sustain his solid ?06 campaign and fell even further off his poor ?05 numbers. The Dodgers are rid of this contract after this season, though. 4. Derrek Lee, Chicago Cubs: 1.1 WS/million. A great ?05 season earned Lee a big contract for ?06. Lee?s low rank here is based on a 50-game season in the first year of the contract. Based on ?07, he can make this deal look a lot better over the next three seasons. 3. Jim Edmonds, San Diego Padres: 0.95 WS/million. Edmonds saw both his on-base average and slugging percentage take a nose dive for a second year. The Padres acquired him from St. Louis in the offseason and hope for some kind of rebound in the final season of the deal.