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Tuesday, July 2, 2002
Updated: July 8, 1:09 PM ET
Most overpaid baseball players

From the Page 2 mailbag

Earlier this week, Page 2 listed our top 10 most overpaid baseball players, and we asked you to send us your choices.

After hunting through more than 2,800 e-mails, here is how Page 2 readers ranked these fat-walleted ballplayers. Be sure to vote in the poll at right to crown the most overpaid ballplayer of them all.

1. Alex Rodriguez, Texas Rangers (571 letters)
Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez has been burned in the MVP voting before.
A-Rod, gimme a break. At more than $20 million per -- who can justify that?? Where would the Rangers be without him? Right where they are now, in the cellar. When will the hemorrhage stop? When the patient is dead! And baseball is circling the drain right now. It really is sad that a $1 million per salary is laughed at. When will the fans say, "Enough already!"
Mel Cole
Lufkin, Texas

He's a great ballplayer, arguably the best all-around in the game, but no person is worth $252 million. Definitely not one who "works" three hours a day, for 162 days a year, for 10 years.

The day the Rangers signed this ridiculous contract brought shock and disgust to many hard-working Americans who have to bust their back to make an honest living. What many people make over a year is thrown at this guy in about three plate appearences. What the hell is this world coming to?

The Rangers' front office is much to blame for actually forking over this kind of money to one man. Bud Selig should contract this team based on stupidity alone. Why would a club do this? Do you think one player can can bring you a ring? This just in, John Hart and friends ... you need some pitching. Stop wasting money on hitters and get yourself some decent hurlers. But what will you geniuses do? Keep on buying offense.

Forrest Gump could run a better ballclub than your office personnel. I'm glad you guys have a last-place ballclub. With all the money you have committed to one player, you deserve to be where you are. Keep up the good work ... you clowns!
John Nordstrom
Middletown, N.J.

Tom Hicks is an idiot for paying him this type of money. Nobody, regardless of All-Star numbers, deserves the GDP of a small country to play a game.
Brian Adams
Norcross, Ga.

The M's scrapped Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez ... classic addition by subtraction. Good thing Rodriguez didn't sign with Texas for the money, though. I guess he prefers being the best player on a bad team rather than a good player on a great team. That right there is the difference between Pay-Rod and Derek Jeter.

How could you put Jeter on the list? His salary is a function of Pay-Rod's. For the Yankees, it was part straight salary because D.J. is still one of the best in the game, part reward because he has helped bring four World Series titles to New York (compared with how many for Pay-Rod?) and the last part is just the price of doing business to keep up with the salary mark that the Rangers have set.

Don't get me wrong, the Yankees have done and continue to do their fair share of setting bad salary trends, but Rodriguez belongs on your list this time, not Jeter.
Charles Yeager
Herndon, Va.

2. Albert Belle, Baltimore Orioles (282 letters)
Albert Belle
Albert Belle is gone from baseball, but his salary is not forgotten.
At one time, he was a force in the game ... now he's just an expensive paper weight.
Tom Powers
Buffalo, N.Y.

As is pointed out in ESPN The Magazine's "Bargain Belles" article, Albert Belle is still being paid $12,368,790 while enjoying official retirement. When you can put together a 25-man roster with nine or 10 All-Stars on it that still costs $3 million or so less than Belle's salary, it's hard to argue that he's not the most overpaid player in baseball.
Ben Solow
Iowa City, Iowa

Q: Who is the most overpaid pro golfer?
A: Albert Belle
JT Brown
Nyack, N.Y.

3. Jose Offerman, Boston Red Sox (255 letters)
Jose Offerman
Boston pays Jose Offerman $6.75 million a year to be a poor-fielding utility player.
Frankly, you picked the wrong Red Sox. The guy who deserves to be on this list is Jose Offerman. The numbers sort of speak for themselves -- Awfulman makes $6.75 million per year. In 187 at-bats over 55 games he has batted .219 with four home runs and 21 RBI. He has stolen seven bases in 10 attempts. Defensively, the guy is a nightmare.

The Sox were forced to move him to first base from second because he was unable to turn a double play. Remarkable really, as he's been raised as a middle infielder. The one thing he can do, and I mean one thing, is go back on balls, but we can't put him in the outfield after he made an error after only three chances this season.
Brendan Hanlon
Westwood, Mass.

Offerman ... he has the skill and charisma of a 40-year-old, sober softball player.
Jake
Columbia, S.C.

Jose Awfulman ... oops, I mean 0-for-man ... I mean he and his four-year, $26 million contract given by, ahem, "brainchild" Dan Duquette. This guy was brought in to solidify second base and be a bona fide leadoff hitter -- he has been the complete opposite.

Not only has he been nicknamed "Dr. StrangeGlove," he has not hit higher than .250 since 1999. The worst part about it is that he actually believes he is a good fielder and that there's a conspiracy theory by members of the Boston media who have given him the stigma of a bad-fielding reputation.

As a Red Sox fan, I am counting the days until he follows his boy Duquette out the door where he belongs!
Lou DiMuzio
Marlborough, Mass.

4. Every Single One of Them (214 letters)
Are you kidding? They're all overpaid. You know something's out of whack when the modern-day George Mitterwalds of the world make more than $1 million a year.

And nowadays they're always whining about something -- they don't want to play at night, they don't want to play on Astroturf, they don't want to play when it's cold out, they don't want to play in Montreal. The league is too big and too many teams are desperate to load up their rosters with filler at any price.

I quote Bill Veeck, "I don't mind the high price of stardom, it's the high price of mediocrity I resent."
Mark Linroth
McAllen, Texas

Let's see ... with 30 players on 30 teams ... that's 900 players. The concept that any one of these jokers deserve a penny of what they earn is a disgrace that you media whores play along with. Overpaid? Name one who isn't.
Boxcar
Seattle

Any person able to wear what equates to pajamas at their place of work, and be idolized by the viewing public for it, should be happy to do so at any wage. Shame on America for supporting the figures these brats take home. Do what I do -- enjoy the sport by playing recreationally, or support your local high school/college teams by attending their games. In doing so, we avoid sitting one's fat ass down only to hand over real hard-earned money. Put professional baseball (sports) out of business.
Mike Allario
Atlanta

My choice is the fan -- he really "overpaid" -- for his ticket ... and his beer ... and all the other junk he bought at the ballpark just so he can pay for every single high-priced player and greedy owner to have lockouts and strikes and continue to ruin our sport.
Clarence Bush
Denver

All are overpaid ... that I can live with. What I cannot handle is this talk of another strike. I'm going nation-wide. Hey, MLB, if you can't reach an agreement and another strike happens, don't bother rushing to settle because -- if and when you come back -- the fans are going on strike.

I think it's time MLB realizes that without us (those who love the game) they have nothing. This movement has already begun and if they lock out, and if they do come back, they'll be returning to empty stadiums. When this buzz gets going, they will not have one single fan in the seats. We're going on strike.
Ben Libbey
Cranston, R.I.

The whole greedy bunch of them. Never has there been a more urgent need for "performance clauses" as now. The owners and players have forgotten about the fans. Remember? The people that pay the freight! The people who come out to watch overrated players being paid by wealthy owners who pass on all their largesse.

Once it was reasonably priced entertainment; not now, nor ever again. One more strike and you can kiss baseball off except in maybe three or four cities in North America. So much the better for all of us "true fans," MLB can die and we get a new league with players and owners who know what side their bread is buttered on.
Rick Simkus
Toronto

5. Ken Griffey Jr., Cincinnati Reds (172 letters)
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Ken Griffey, Jr., middle, seems to spend as much time with medical personnel as his family.
Tops go to Ken Griffey Jr. ... Cincinnati was looking for some "feel good" emotions to help quell the masses upset about the new stadium, so they traded for Junior's contract and brought him "home." He won't even live here. Since his first season, he seems to be on the DL more than he plays and all he can do is whine about how the people in Cincy don't like him. Wonder why.
Cheri
Franklin, Ohio

Hate to be the one to bring this up, but isn't Ken Griffey Jr., the former best player in baseball, still making the "best player in baseball" salary? The player who we expected to break Aaron's record didn't even make the 30th man poll ... Don't give me injuries. Cal Ripken he is not. (Then again, who is these days?)

Still, you'd expect him to play in a few more than half the games the past two years. We all understand he took less money to play in his hometown, but did he inform the Reds he was also planning on taking less trips to the plate in response?

The Reds' clubhouse quote on ESPN.com on Tuesday reads, "'4 Reds tickets -- $30, 4 Sodas -- $10, 4 Hotdogs -- $15, Ken Griffey Jr. -- Worthless..." I couldn't have said it better myself.
John Conroy
Bethesda, Md.


6. Todd Hundley, Chicago Cubs (157 letters)
He's being paid $23.5 million over four years to be a platoon player. It's been a long time since he hit 41 homers with the Mets (see the 12 he hit last year). Even worse was his dismal .187 batting average.

On top of that, any pitcher who knows what he is doing (Jon Lieber, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, now following that lead) would rather throw to Joe Girardi. Sure, he's a switch hitter ... so, that means he fans from both sides of the plate. Hundley is a $6 million per year bust.
Pete W.
Chicago

Todd Hundley, Fred McGriff, Moises Alou, Alex Gonzalez (combined $24 million). No wonder the "lovable losers" are 13 games under .500 and threatening to occupy the NL Central basement. These four guys have a combined batting average of .244 this year, with a combined 36 home runs. Throw in "Flash" Gordon's $2.8 million (0 IP through July 1), and the Cubs have more than $25 million that could be spent on some players who could actually contribute to this reeling ballcub.
Rich
Chicago

Mike Hampton
Mike Hampton's decision to join the Rockies prompts an opinion oozing with sarcasm.
7. Mike Hampton, Colorado Rockies (144 letters)
He left the Mets for a team he said he would win a championship with (smirk). Give him some credit though, right? I mean, he's a much better hitter than he is a pitcher.

By the way, if you see him ... ask him how his kids are doing in that phenomenal Colorado school system. To all those educators and Rockies' affiliates over there -- have fun with the Hamptons ... for the next six years!
Karen
Albany, N.Y.

8. Kevin Brown, Los Angeles Dodgers (123 letters)
Say what you will about Mike Hampton, but the only way you get a guy to toss in Colorado is to pay him $10 mil per season. At least he's attempting to pitch, unlike Brown. He's only halfway through his seven-year, $105 million deal, and he's spent most of that time on the DL. Not to mention that signing a 34-year-old to a seven-year contract is a bad idea.

Brown didn't come close to meeting expectations when he was healthy -- now what? After the way he dissed San Diego when he left, I have to say his recent problems couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Also, notice how the Dodgers are in first without him? Classic Ewing Theory case study right there.
Matt Geiszler
San Diego

Mo Vaughn
Mo Vaughn will tell you he doesn't deserve to be on this list.
9. Mo Vaughn, New York Mets (76 letters)
I have just one glaring difference. "Big Schmo" should be heading the list. Any derelict that goes off on old teammates like he did earlier in the year against Anahiem and spouts off about the one great year he had, deserves to head any list!

Hey Mo, hit above .214, then you can tell us how great you are!
Murph
Anahiem, Calif.

10. Darren Dreifort, Los Angeles Dodgers (71 letters)
Despite the fact he's never had an ERA under 4.00 as a starter, the Dodgers continue to pay him millions of dollars every year. I remember when they signed him ... it was during that one season where GMs became more shopping crazed than the proverbial suburbanite mom in December.

Just like the fool who paid $500 for a Tickle-Me-Elmo doll on Christmas Eve because it was the last one on the shelf, the Dodgers spent way too much on a low quality, poorly made pitcher -- just because he was the last one.
Andy Hall
Palo Alto, Calif.

Also receiving votes
  • Derek Bell (67 letters)
  • Ray Lankford (60 letters)
  • Chan Ho Park (54 letters)
  • Albie Lopez (50 letters)
  • Derek Jeter (46 letters)
  • Jeromy Burnitz (35 letters)
  • Raul Mondesi (31 letters)
  • Moises Alou (28 letters)