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So, the Marlins obviously have money to waste

Sep 27, 2013, 1:39 AM EDT

Greg Dobbs AP

I realize it’s a footnote that the Marlins re-signed Greg Dobbs for $1.7 million earlier today. It probably doesn’t make much of a difference to anyone besides a few Marlins fans who are already so apathetic that it scarcely registered for more than a few minutes.

However, I don’t think this should be overlooked or forgotten. Paying Dobbs $1.2 million more than the minimum is an absurd waste of money, oddly perpetrated by one of the game’s cheapest owners.

The Marlins originally signed Dobbs to a minor league deal after the 2010 season that would pay him $600,000 if he made the club. Which he did, of course. After hitting .275/.311/.389 with eight homers in 411 at-bats in 2011, he was then given a two-year, $3 million extension.

Now Dobbs is finishing up his third year with the club. Overall, he’s hit .267/.310/.366 with 15 homers and 110 RBI in 966 at-bats. He’s best known as a pinch-hitter, but he started 84 games at third base for the Marlins in 2011, 96 games at various positions in 2012 and 47 games at first base this year. His defensive numbers at all of his positions are abysmal, so Baseball-Reference puts him at -2.5 WAR over the three years. The only position players worse during the span are Yuniesky Betancourt (-3.5) and Marlins teammate Chris Coghlan (-3.3).

And this has been Dobbs’ worst year of the three. He’s batting .229/.305/.301 in 236 at-bats. There’s no way any other team would want him on more than a minor league deal this winter. At 35, he’s obviously a worse bet than he was at 32, when the Marlins originally signed him to that non-guaranteed $600,000 deal.  Why is there any reason to give him more than that now?

It’s not as though $1.2 million was always inconsequential to the Marlins. Two years ago, they gave away right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop to the Rays rather than pay him $1 million-$1.2 million in arbitration. He’s gone on to post ERAs of 3.03 and 3.48 the last two years. Now the Marlins are just throwing away that kind of money.

I understand why the Marlins want to have someone like Dobbs. Young players shouldn’t waste away on the bench, and Dobbs will take his reserve role without complaint. But that’s hardly a good reason to give him a raise and pay him three times the minimum. So what if he’s good in the clubhouse if that’s all he’s really good at? If they had let the market dictate his worth, then they’d have some more to spend on someone useful.

  1. dan1111 - Sep 27, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    Because of the Marlins’ reputation, they have to over-pay stars like Dobbs to get them to stay. Also, he would only accept the deal if it came with a full no-no-trade clause.

    • thevauntedchris - Sep 27, 2013 at 2:33 AM

      “Over-pay STARS like Dobbs to get them to stay.”

      What planet am I on?

      • dan1111 - Sep 27, 2013 at 3:37 AM

        Sorry, I guess that joke flopped.

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 8:44 AM

        I thought it was pretty funny. But then, I have the Acrobat add-on that reads sarcasm fonts, even in Chinese or Devanagri.

      • dan1111 - Sep 27, 2013 at 8:59 AM

        @Gator, you read HBT in Acrobat? Woah, that is some crazy stuff! Next you are going to tell me you watch Marlins games underwater on a walkie talkie. Or even more bizarrely, at Marlins Park.

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:08 AM

        Naahhh, I convert specific posts to Acrobat if I suspect that a sarcasm font is being used. I once had a pair of sunglasses that someone left on a Metrobus that could pick up a sarcasm font, but they also disclosed that all of my blind dates were aliens and revealed messages on the sides of buses that suggested I learn more about Islam. Some things you just don’t want to know.

      • dan1111 - Sep 27, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        @Gator, when you start seeing aliens and invisible writing, your first thought should not be to blame the glasses. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if there ever was a pair of glasses…

  2. cadillacjosh - Sep 27, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    I had no idea Chris Coghlan is nearly as bad as Yuni. Just a quick glance at his hitting, it’s not great, but it’s not that awful. His obp is bad, but he’s slugging .650ish. I know that’s not great. but it’s not -3.3 WAR bad.

    Does anyone care to clue me in if his defense is that bad? I know he’s switched positions a couple times, is that the main reason?

    • paperlions - Sep 27, 2013 at 7:37 AM

      His OBP is fine, he is not slugging .650ish (which is Miggy-level slugging), he is slugging .390 on his career, which is bolstered by his unexpected rookie campaign. When you can’t hit and only play the OF (and play them horribly), you are the definition of a useless player.

  3. quintjs - Sep 27, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    I am not sure what the surprise is about. Last year they cut payroll saying they couldn’t stand by while a losing team was on the field. This year (with a low payroll) the team was worse. Therefore they need to (and based on their promise not to stand by idle while a team loses) and will spend up large like there is no tomorrow, because as they have proven spending more money means more wins.

    Prediction: The Marlins will enter 2014 with a Payroll north of $200m.

    Footnote: Unless their owner is a lying sack of ..

  4. thegonz13 - Sep 27, 2013 at 5:56 AM

    @dan1111,,, no, I got the joke. He’s just Loria’s idea of a star!

  5. greymares - Sep 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    In the over inflated salary market we live in,I don’t think 1.7 mil.for a solid lefthand pinch hitter that can play 4 positions is that much of an overpayment.

    • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 8:54 AM

      I don’t know if .229 is my idea of “solid.” But one of the reasons that the Feesh need warm bodies on the bench is that their position players couldn’t drive in runs if they had the stadium concierge call a limousine.

      Meanwhile, part of what seems to be a ridiculous overpayment buys Scrooge McLoria a little street cred with the Player’s Association, which is doubtless watching him like a Troodon. A year after his latest payroll massacre, it wouldn’t surprise me if he had made some sort of commitment to the Association about bringing the payroll back up again. Perhaps this move, so boobish on the surface, lets the team limp into the orfseason with a little bit of breathing room while Scrooge settles down to the anticipated bloodletting in the executive suite without having to look over his shoulder for union reps (as well as would-be assassins).

  6. richarddansky - Sep 27, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    It’s my guess that Dobbs has to give most of that money back to Loria or they don’t let him leave the clubhouse.

    • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      It’s not that he has to give it back. It’s combat pay for having to work for the slob. Then again, perhaps Larry Beinfest agreed to that absurd salary to give Scrooge a little more incentive to fire him already.

  7. thehawg - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Is Greg Dobbs in the market for some art works ?

    • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:23 AM

      Oh boy – you have the paintings of tigers on velvet, or the Village of the Damned children on velvet? I want to compare what you’re charging to what they get at the back of that van parked by the highway.

      • gloccamorra - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        Please don’t tell me it’s BLACK velvet! That’s reserved for Elvis.

  8. xpensivewinos - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Let me get this straight: Alex Rodriguez makes 25 million a year, Robinson Cano wants over 300 million dollars, baseball is filled with the most ridiculous contracts in the history of mankind, yet Greg Dobbs making $850,000 after taxes is an outrage?

    Sorry, but this doesn’t crack the top 500 in terms of things that are wrong with baseball……

    • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      It does when you view it as an extension of Scrooge McLoria’s ownership.

    • zzalapski - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      You can find players who can do what Dobbs does at your local community college. Players like Cano are a little bit scarcer.

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