New Hall of Famers Halladay and Mussina vs. Big Contract Pitchers



By Scott Myers, Contributor

Some factoids regarding long-term $100 million contracts for MLB starting pitchers

Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina were just voted into the MLB Hall of Fame.  Do you think they were fairly compensated during their lengthy careers?  Some basic metrics for each:

Roy Halladay
o 16-year career, 1998-2013
o $170 million career earnings (in current dollars)
o 203-105 w-l record, 3.38 ERA, 8 seasons of greater than 200 innings pitched
Mike Mussina
o 18-year career, 1991-2008
o $191 million career earnings (in current dollars)
o 270-153 w-l record, 3.68 ERA, 11 seasons of greater than 200 innings pitched

Neither one received a $100 million contract – the first of these was awarded to Kevin Brown in 1999.  Let’s see how Roy’s and Mike’s performance compares to that of the pitchers that have had and/or still have $100 million or greater contracts.

Starting MLB pitchers with $100 million or greater contracts since 1999:

22 players
24 contracts – CC Sabathia and Zack Grienke had/have two each
13 active contracts
10 completed contracts
1 not-yet-started contract (Patrick Corbin) which begins in 2019
107 completed seasons
40 yet-to-be-played seasons

The average seasonal performance for the 107 completed seasons has been:




For Roy Halladay’s and Mike Mussina’s core career seasons, their average seasonal performance looks like this:

One can readily see that both Roy and Mike way outperformed the composite performance of all the $100 million pitchers, and for more years.  The highest number of years for any of the $100 million contract players is 9 – CC Sabathia across two contracts.  The average $100 million contract length is about 6.5 years. Roy and Mike were paid less than half of the average yearly salary of the $100 million group.  Still, there is no need to feel that Roy and Mike were not well remunerated during their careers as they both earned close to $200 million (in today’s dollars) during their careers.

Looking back at Roy’s and Mike’s careers (not that long ago) helps to give us a sense for how crazily salaries have escalated in recent years.  So, are any of these extremely well-paid pitchers ‘earning their keep’?  Let’s see how their performances rank. By the way, if Roy’s and Mike’s core career performance years were included in the rankings below, Roy would rank 3rd and Mike 7th out of 25.

Equally weighting wins per contract season, innings pitched and ERA, the best contract to date has been Max Scherzer’s still active one (4 years played, 3 years remaining).


Zack Greinke’s first 3-year contract with Dodgers ranks second.  His second contract with the Diamondbacks (3 years in with 3 to go) ranks 8th.

CC Sabathia’s first contract ranks 3rd, and his 2nd ranks 17th out of 23.

Here are the worst 5 contracts, worst at the bottom:

And here is the complete list of the 23 contracts, listed from best to worst:





You can be the judge of whether or not any of these pitchers are earning their keep.




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