MLB free agency is already underway, as teams are looking to secure some of their targets before the expected lockout that will start on December 1.
Most players usually sign for a fair amount of money, while, in some cases when they can’t find clubs deep into spring training, some sign for cheap contracts, making them underpaid.
However, a handful of ballplayers get more money than they probably deserve, all things considered.
These two free agents may be among the most overpaid players of the offseason when all is said and done.
2. Eddie Rosario
Eddie Rosario is not a bad baseball player.
In fact, as he showed with the Atlanta Braves during the 2021 postseason, he can take over a series and perform on the biggest of stages.
However, 808 career regular season games and 3,242 plate appearances tell us that he is a slightly above-average hitter and a bad fielder.
The problem is, because of his excellent postseason performance in 2021, he will probably land a high-priced contract.
And truth be told, his play may not be worthy of one.
Using the wRC+ stat, we see that Rosario is only a hair above-average when it comes to hitting performance over his career.
That stat means weighted Runs Created Plus, and considers the player’s offensive contributions and adds context (era, park, league, etc.) to compare him with his peers.
Any value over 100 is considered above-average, and any number lower than 100 represents below-average performance.
Rosario is at 105 wRC+ for his career, which is underwhelming for a bad defensive player.
He has hit .275/.309/.473 during his career.
He has plenty of power, but takes no walks, capping his offensive ceiling.
Rosario hit .259/.305/.435 in 2021, with a 98 wRC+.
He ranked in the 29th percentile in Outs Above Average, which is well below his peers.
However, he slashed .383/.456/.617 with three homers in the 2021 playoffs and played good defense.
Love that Eddie Rosario has elevated both sides of his game.
A career below-average outfielder has been fantastic in LF this series.
— Scott Watkins (@scottwatkinsTU) November 1, 2021
He got hot, but he is not that good.
Perhaps he changed or worked on something, but we need more than just a handful of games as proof to fully buy in.
1. Mark Melancon
The San Diego Padres closer in 2021 is hitting free agency.
In fact, he declined his half of a mutual option just to test free agency.
This year, he had a 2.23 ERA and 39 saves.
Those two stats certainly jump out to the eye, but there are red flags under the hood.
First, his age: he will be 37 years old in 2022.
Then, we have his underlying stats: Mark Melancon just walked the most hitters per nine innings, 3.48, since his rookie season.
Other run-prevention metrics also suggest he wasn’t as good as his 2.23 ERA indicates.
His Fielding Independent Pitching, which basically eliminates balls in play from the equation and focuses on things a pitcher can actually control, shows a 3.36 mark.
His xFIP was 3.45, and his expected ERA (a Statcast metric), was 4.24.
In other words, he was acceptable, but not 2.23-ERA good.
His ERA and the fact he was an effective closer will surely earn him a big contract, but teams expecting a performance repeat may be in for disappointment.
He will surely be a solid reliever, but those expecting him to duplicate a sub-3.00 ERA may not get their wish.
As a reliever, there will surely be a big market for him.
Also heard #Braves at least discussed possibility of bringing back Mark Melancon, though I don't know if they're willing to offer the kind of contract he might be seeking after he declined $5M mutual option with Padres. He'll be 37 in March, had 2.23 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 39/45 saves.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) November 17, 2021
The translation is that someone will probably overpay for him.