How Much is a Really Bad Baseball Pitcher Worth?

$100,000 a Minute?

Some people justify the generally unconscionable salaries of professional athletes as the price to be paid for superior performance; it’s a fiercely competitive field,and to win you have to pay top dollar, right?

We present to you Aaron Harang. He is paid $5 million dollars a year to play baseball. Quite badly.

Harang has been in the league a long time; the 37 year old has made tens of millions of dollars – to lose. Thus far this year in starting for the Phillies, he is 5-14,and has a chance to become the first pitcher to lose 20 games in a season since Mike Maroth did it in 2003 with the Detroit Tigers.

Just to be clear, this season is not just a bad one for Harang; he’s always bad. Of the 22 active pitchers in major league baseball who have started at least 300 games, he is the only one with an overall losing record, at 127-142. He has played 14 seasons with 8 different teams, but has never pitched in the playoffs.

Based on his current pace, he is being paid $1 million for each and every game that he wins. The Wall Street Journal has calculated that an average major league baseball game has about 18 minutes of actual movement over the course of a 3 hour game. Of course, that includes the time that both teams are at bat, and all 9 innings. If Harang actually pitched a full game, he is being paid about $100,000 per minute of actual pitching time in the games that he wins. But, of course, he doesn’t actually win many games.

But by all means, let $20 an hour taxpayers continue to subsidize the construction of baseball stadiums.

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