Friday, December 26, 2014

Measuring the cost of injuries over the last five seasons

Hard to believe that I'll be flying down to Clearwater in a little over a week for this year's edition of spring training. I'm in the process of organizing my notes in an attempt to identify some of the plotlines that need to be explored early in camp.

Measuring the cost of injuries over the last five seasons

"It´s a fact," Jimmy Rollins said of whether a healthy Phillies team would return to the playoffs in 2013. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)
"It's a fact," Jimmy Rollins said of whether a healthy Phillies team would return to the playoffs in 2013. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

Hard to believe that I'll be flying down to Clearwater in a little over a week for this year's edition of spring training. I'm in the process of organizing my notes in an attempt to identify some of the plotlines that need to be explored early in camp.

Here's one:

Last year, nearly 1/5th of the money that the Phillies paid in player salaries went to somebody who was on the disabled list. Phillies players combined to log more than 1,400 days on the disabled list, at a combined cost of about $32.98 million. In other words, about 19.1 percent of the team's opening day payroll ended up as dead money. Ryan Howard spent 92 days on the disabled list while being paid about $109,000 per day in salary, for a total of about $10.1 million. 

Teams can carry insurance on player contracts, but the practice is not as common as you might think because of the cost of the premiums that such policies usually require. 

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As you can see below, the percentage of payroll investment lost due to injury has increased in each of the last four seasons:

Year Total $ Lost Opening Day Payroll % Payroll Lost Avg. Hitter Age Avg. Pitcher Age
2008 $6.936 million $95.200 million 7.29 29.9 30.3
2009 $10.938 million $113.680 million 9.62 31.2 31.0
2010 $18.917 million $135.398 million 13.97 31.9 30.9
2011 $31.573 million $170.893 million 18.48 31.6 29.4
2012 $32.982 million $172.535 million 19.12 31.3 29.3

These numbers are based on the figures I have in my records. The average ages are from Baseball-Reference.com and are weighted for playing time. This year, the average age of the Phillies' eight projected regulars is 31, and the average age for the five projected starting pitchers is 31. 

David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
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