By: Noah Wright
When a team signs a long term, and hefty contract, they usually don’t anticipate a player to completely drop off in performance, or the signing to be a complete bust. But it still happens, These are the best candidates to be included in a salary dump trade in the off season.
- Wade Davis:
When you look at Davis’ surface numbers, they’re not too great. His ERA is nearly touching 7, his WHIP (1.737) and FIP (5.18) are all career highs. Home runs have been a huge issue too with a 1.4 HR/9. But Davis’ is really a player who could benefit away from Coors Field. His away ERA/FIP currently sits at just .68/3.91. Opponents not in Coors field have an OPS of .581 when facing Davis. Plus he wasn’t that bad last year when he posted a 4.13/3.65 ERA/FIP, and 3.00 K/BB. Next season, Davis is owed $17 million, and has a $15 million option for 2021.
- Eric Hosmer:
Overall, Hosmer is having a nice bounceback year with the bat from a weak 2019 season. Overall, he’s batting .282/.333/.442 with 15 home runs. His OPS+ of 106 and 104 wRC+ are around league average. However, Hosmer is making hard contact 37.3% of the time, which marks a career high. His overall production as a first baseman leaves a little more to be desired, but it’s certainly not bad production. One thing of note though is Hosmer’s lack luster glove. This year, the 1B has -4 DRS, and a -1.1 dWAR. Although Hosmer’s contract will be harder to move than Davis’ contract. His contract guarantees him up to $63 million through 2022 ($21 million AAV), that is if he doesn’t opt out. The more likely scenario is that Hosmer doesn’t opt out, meaning that he would be owed $102 million total from 2020 to 2025 ($21 million from 2020 to 2022, $13 million from 2023 to 2025).
- Jeff Samarzdjia:
Samarzdjia is having a solid 2019. That is after a rough 2018 where his ERA was nearly 6, and he started only 10 games. In 122 and two thirds innings, Samarzdjia has a decent 3.75 ERA, and 1.153 WHIP. However is FIP is a bit worrisome 4.45. Samarzdjia has decent walk (2.4 BB/9), and strikeout numbers (7.9 K/9, 3.24 K/BB), but his main issue is home runs, as his HR/9 sits at 1.4. Next year is the last year of his contract, and is owed $19.8 million,
- Dexter Fowler:
Like a few other names non this list, Fowler is having a solid bounceback year after being injured and in a year long slump in 2018. Fowler is batting a respectable .243/.339/.414 with a dozen homeruns. His offensive value has been worth 101 wRC+. Notably, Fowler has made soft contact just 13.2% of the time, a career low, while making hard contact 39.5% of the time, also a career high. Fowler has even been a decent defender in the outfield. He has -1 DRS (4 in CF, -5 in RF), -.5 UZR (1.5 in CF, -2.0 in RF), and -.4 dWAR. Between the next two years, Fowler is guaranteed $33 million in total.
- Danny Duffy:
Had it not been for him breaking out as a top tier relief pitcher in 2019 and building up enough trade value to not be considered a full on salary dump candidate, veteran righty Ian Kennedy would have been on this spot. However, lefty Danny Duffy wasn’t far behind him entering 2019. Duffy is currently sporting a not-so-pretty 4.42 ERA, 4.73 FIP, and 1.369 WHIP in 95 and two thirds innings. His largest problem is home runs, with a 1.4 HR/9. But he does have a decent BB/9 (3.2), while his K/9 sits at 8.0. This is coming off the heels of a rough 2018 as well. However, Duffy isn’t far removed from a 2 year stretch between 2016 and 2017 where he posted a solid 3.64 ERA, 3.66 FIP, and 1.193 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9, and 3.83 K/BB ratio in 326 innings. Between 2020 and 2021, Duffy is guaranteed to earn a total of $30.75 million.
- Jon Lester:
Now Lester isn’t your prime salary dump candidate. He’s still fairly productive on a team looking to win, but the Cubs dumping Lester’s contract for 2020 could free up a fair amount of payroll space for them to either fill in other holes on the team (maybe sign an Alex Wood type pitcher and a bullpen piece), or look into extensions with some of their young players. Lester is starting to show some age. The former Red Sox ace is still producing a solid 3.86 ERA, 3.99 FIP, and 1.345 WHIP in 119 innings. Lester has seen his K/9 rise from 7.4 last year to 8.8 in 2019. His walks/9 also has been reduced to a miniscule 2.0. But he does have a full season career high H/9 of 10.1, and 1.4 HR/9. Next year, Lester is owed $20 million, and has a $25 million option, and $10 million buyout for 2021.
- Wil Myers:
Myers is having one of the worst years of his career in 2019. As of now, he is batting a weak .222/.319/.406. With 13 home runs. That’s worth just 94 wRC+. Myers’ overall defensive output has been pretty bad as well. While his defense in left field has been solid (2 DRS, -1.6 UZR), it's more than outshadowed by his awful center field defense (-8 DRS, -2.3 UZR). But that doesn’t change the fact that he was a pretty solid player for 3 years. Between 2016 and 2018, Myers posted a .252/.329/.459 line, a 112 OPS+, and average between 25 and 30 home runs in a full season. Also, he was a pretty decent defender at first base, the corner outfield spots, and third base in those 3 seasons. Myers is owed a whopping $67.5 million up until 2022 ($22.5 million AAV), and has a $20 million opt/$1 million buyout for 2023.