Oakland's star pitchers Dan Haren and Rich Harden are two of the best at what they do, but are not compensated like their colleagues. Both men are 26 and 25 years of age respectively, but will make a combined $4.5 million this season. In societies standards that's a handsome salary, but not in the world of baseball when the league minimum is $380,000.
Both pitchers had impressive outings to start the season with Harden pitching seven scoreless innings last night to pick up manager Bob Geren's first career victory, and on Opening Day Haren surrendered zero earned runs in six innings of work, but was the hard luck loser to the Mariners Felix Hernandez.
I began to take a look at other teams around the American League and what the salaries this season of their two top starters are. When healthy, 2005 AL CY Young winner Bartolo Colon is the ace of the Angels staff and along with Kelvim Escobar both men will make an astounding $25 million this season. Haren has won 28 games and pitched 440 innings over the past two seasons, while Colon and Escobar have combined for 36 wins and pitched 528 innings.
Haren, who is making a mere $2.25 million this season, has won 8 fewer games and pitched 88 less innings by himself than Colon and Escobar have done together. Not to mention, both starters are constantly plagued by injuries and Haren is extremely durable. I think this tells you something about how the A's allocate their resources compared to how the Angels allocate theirs. The difference is both staggering and troubling at the same time.
Other pitching duos who are breaking the bank for their clubs include: Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman of the Tigers who will make a combined $12.5 million this season, C.C. Sabathia and Jake Westbrook of Cleveland who will make a combined $14.875 million, Jose Contreras and Jon Garland of the White Sox who will make a combined $19 million, Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling of Boston who will make nearly $20 million, Kevin Milwood and Vicente Padilla of the Rangers who will make a combined $19 million this season.
The one-two duo who takes the cake in terms of salary this season are A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay of Toronto who will make a staggering $25.95 million this season when you add their salaries together. These figures are preposterous, but remember that none of these players can match the salary of A-Rod. The Yankees third baseman will be raking in $27, 708, 525.