Pittsburgh Pirates Paying Pennies* For Power


Watching Pedro Alvarez slug homer after homer this season has been a joy for Pittsburgh Pirates fans.  But it made us think what’s the price on power in Major League Baseball?  What are the Reds paying?  The Cardinals?   We got very curious about the price tag placed on power.

The Pirates have brought up the subject of contracts, what we consider–right or wrong– to be money being  a challenge for the club to add offensive production.  That sucks.  Especially after doing some quick math on what teams are paying for slugging production in 2013.

There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t feel blessed to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates Pedro Alvarez doing what he’s doing at the plate.  Andrew McCutchen too.  Starling Marte can’t be dismissed either.

But back to the case study.  How much do all those homers Cincy and St. Louis cost?  What about Crush in Baltimore and Miggy in Detroit?  How bout Paul Goldschmidt in Arizona’s hitter paradise?

We took a quick look for you.

Chris Davis has 45 home runs.  According to Baseball Reference he makes $3.3 million dollars thanks to the Boras Corporation. Davis is also currently tied with Alvarez with 152 strikeouts.

Miguel Cabrera has 40 home runs.  He is on an 8 year-$152.3 million dollar deal thanks to SFX.  Miggy has struck out 76 times.

Pedro Alvarez has 31 home runs for the Bucs.  El Toro is getting paid $700K this year thanks to the Boras Corporation.

Paul Goldschmidt  is tied with El Toro at 31 homers.  Goldschmidt is getting paid $500k in 2013 and then in 2013 a five year deal kicks in at $32.05 million and a 2019 team option.  Goldschmidt has struck out 114 times.

Edwin Encarnacion is tied with El Toro at 31 homers.  He is on a 5 year, $35 million dollar deal.  Encarnacion has struckout just 53 times.

Mark Trumbo has 29 home runs.  Trumbo is the American League version of Alvarez, a huge bargain at $540K, thanks to the pathetic efforts of the Wasserman Media Group.   Trumbo has struckout 138 times.

Adam Dunn has 28 home runs.  Dunn is on a 4 year, $56 million dollar deal thanks to Genske, Peters and Parker.  Dunn has struck out 139 times.

Power like Pedro’s is coming cheap this season for Pittsburgh.  Real. Cheap.  Consider that when looking down in the Pirates minor league system.  A third-baseman doesn’t exist that can do what Alvarez can do.  Petey is going to get paid.  It’s only a matter of when.  The leverage is clearly tilted toward the Big Bull despite the fact that he isn’t free-agent eligible until 2017.

Remember the deal Garrett Jones signed in the offseason?  Maybe you don’t, but those eleven homers are costing the Bucs $4.5 million.

The teams closest to the Bucs, the Cardinals and the Reds are getting homers from 36-year old Carlos Beltran who is getting paid $13 million for his 21 bombs.  Matt Holliday is signed through 2016, on a seven year, $120 million dollar deal with an option on 2017.  Holliday is banking $17 million this year for his 15 home runs.  Guess we shouldn’t bitch too much about GFJ.

The Reds Jay Bruce has 24 homers.  Bruce will bank $7.5 million this year.  Thanks to a six-year, $51 million dollar deal with a team option in 2017.  Bruce has 151 strikeouts this season, just one back of Alvarez.


Looking at the double digit HR totals on the Cardinals roster, they have 57 bombs from Beltran, Holliday, Yadier Molina and Allen Craig.  Those players are making a total of $45.75 million this year.

Looking at the double digit HR totals on the Reds roster, they have 85 bombs from Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier, Shin-Soo Choo and Bruce. Those players are making a total of $43.403 million this year.  ($3.5 million being paid by the Indians)

Looking at the double digit HR totals on the Bucs ball club, they have 81 bombs from Russell Martin, GFJ, Pedro, Starling Marte and #MVP Andrew McCutchen.  Those players are making a total of $16.850 million this year.

So looking at the math (if my solar calculator isn’t lying to me) the Cardinals are paying  roughly $802K per homer from Beltran, Holliday, Molina and Craig (57 homers at a price tag of $45.75M.)

The Reds are paying about $458K per homer from their double digit HR sluggers Votto, Phillips, Frazier, Choo and Bruce (85 bombs at a price tag of roughly $39M after the Indians chip in $3.5 for Shoo).

Meanwhile, Neal Huntington’s Pirates are paying $208K per homer from their double digit producers in Martin, GFJ, Petey, Marte and Cutch.  (81 bombs for checks signed by Bob Nutting totaling $16.850M to those five guys in 2013.)

The Pirates are getting low cost, high impact production.  The competitors in the division can’t say the same thing when compared to the Bucs Power for Pennie* Campaign.  So next time you see Huntington out on the town, buy him a Boston Lager for some great work.

But more importantly, when you see the Bucs sluggers out on the town, better pick up their tab.