Listing the 25 most overpaid MLB players in 2023, from future Hall of Famers to surprise names

Jul 25, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Angles center fielder Mike Trout (27) sits in dugout in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Angles center fielder Mike Trout (27) sits in dugout in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
11 of 25
Next
Sean Manaea. John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Manaea. John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /

15. Sean Manaea, starting pitcher, San Francisco Giants

There is something attractive in the profile of left-hander Sean Manaea. Perhaps it’s the no-hitter he threw a few years back, or a couple of good early career seasons with Oakland, when he was arguably the ace of the A’s staff.

By 2022, however, when he went 8-9 with a 4.96 ERA in 28 starts for the Padres, the bloom was sufficiently off the rose that they let Manaea walk to free agency. The Giants took a chance on his potential, signing him to a two-year contract that is paying him $12.5 million this year.

But there’s been no return to form, only a continuation of the recent seasons’ inexplicably sub-par performances.

At least the Giants learned early to cut their losses. After a half dozen generally awful starts, in early May they sentenced Manaea to the bullpen, where he has largely performed in low-leverage filler roles. The results have been positive only by comparison: Manaea has a 4.98 ERA in the pen; as a starter he was 7.54.

Manaea’s -1.2 WAR equals the third worst among the 128 qualifying pitchers who are rated as starters. (Although Manaea is no longer starting, that was the vision for him at season’s start, so that’s how he’s measured.)  By comparison with the average WAR of others of his class, his WAR is worth -$11.583 million, which combined with his salary means he is overpaid by $24.083 million.

That’s a lot to pay for a pitcher you’re only using in mop-up roles.