Chase Utley named 'top bench warmer' in pro sports
A new Forbes list focuses on well-paid but often-hobbled players.
Phillies second basemen Chase Utley is the poster child for Forbes' new list of "The Best-Paid Bench Warmers in Sports."
"Utley’s recent month on the disabled list is only the latest in a series of bumps, bruises and tears that have kept him out of more than 200 games since the beginning of the 2010 season, all while collecting some $60 million. So as much as we love him, there’s little choice but to declare Utley as sports’ best-paid bench warmer," writes Tom Van Riper, who covers the business of sports.
Utley's ranked ahead of a half-dozen NBA athletes -- Rashard Lewis of the Miami Heat, Ben Gordon of the Charlotte Bobcats, Kris Humphries (Kim Kardashian's ex) of the Brooklyn Nets, Corey Maggette of the Detroit Pistons, Richard Jefferson of the Golden State Warriors, and Stephen Jackson of the San Antonio Spurs.
The rest of the Top 10 has one other baseball player, Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts; just one NFL player, Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Laurent Robinson; and another pro basketballer, Golden State's "perpetual bust," Andris Biedrins. No NHL players make the list.
It's a head-scratcher of a list for several reasons.
1. Where's Andrew Bynum? The Sixers center collected about $16.5 million this season despite missing every game.
Major injuries, however, get excused. "A consistent performer who’s been recently sidelined by a sudden torn-up knee or broken ankle gets a pass. But perpetual injuries are a different story – being injury prone affects your value," Riper writes.
2. Where's Alex Rodriguez? The New York Yankees shortstop hasn't played a game this season and has also missed 200 games since 2010. True, Rodriguez has been more productive, with 264 RBIs compared to 190 for Utley in that span. But Rodriguez has also been far better paid than Utley, raking in twice the cash, about $122 million for the last four seasons, according to baseball-reference.com.
Finally, although this sounds like a "most overpaid athletes" list, it clearly doesn't aspire to be more than a segment of one, since healthy players with unhealthy salaries also get ignored. There's no sign, for example, of Carmelo Athony, the New York Knicks small forward whom Riper named the NBA's most overpaid athlete earlier this year.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.