With hefty paychecks come hefty expectations. That's as true a truism as there is in baseball. And inevitably, some of those richly rewarded ballplayers fail to return value on the dollar. Most often, it's not the guys like A-Rod and CC Sabathia who are the main offenders they are, after all, paid like superstars for good reason. No, more often it's the mid-level contract that, in terms of sensible outlays, winds up in a class with a Dennis Kozlowski toga party. With all that wastefulness in mind, let's take a look at the top 10 guys in MLB who aren't earning their paychecks in 2009 ... — Dayn Perry
Chris Young, Diamondbacks
2009 Salary: $1.75 million Has Young been the least productive hitter in all of baseball this season? He rates far below the norm in the NL in batting average (.189), OBP (.248) and SLG (.354). And keep in mind that he's playing in a park that's fairly accommodating toward hitters. The answer, then, is yes: Young has been the worst hitter in the majors in 2009. He's making a relatively paltry sum this season, but the Snakes are committed to him for a minimum of four more years and $23.25 million. Unless he shows some rapid skills growth, they'll wind up regretting giving him a long-term contract.
Jason Giambi, A's
2009 Salary: $4 million Giambi, who was reasonably productive last season in New York, was being relied upon to help revive the Oakland offense. On that count, he's failing. Giambi is hitting .207/.374/.343, far below the average AL first baseman. That's quite a production deficit, and that's especially the case once you consider that Giambi does nothing else well. On top of that $4 million, the cash-strapped A's will owe him another $1.5 million to buy out his contract for 2010.
Jamie Moyer, Phillies
2009 Salary: $6.5 million It's usually not a good idea to tender a multi-year contract to a player who's almost as old as the sitting president, but that's what the Phillies did with Moyer. Moyer enjoyed a fluke-ishly effective 2008, but this year he's pitching more in line with expectations: 6.11 ERA, 5.5 innings per start, 14 homers allowed in 66 innings. Initially, Phils fans dismissed his struggles as an early-season aberration, but he was worse in May than he was in April. In a related matter, Moyer's old. Of course, they'll be paying him another $6.5 million next season when he'll be 47.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox
2009 Salary: $8 million Last season, Dice K despite pacing the league in walks ranked third in the AL in ERA and finished fourth in the Cy Young voting. The 2009 season, however, has been decidedly less kind to him. This year, he's spent time on the disabled list with a shoulder malady, and when healthy he's put up a grisly ERA of 7.55. The control will always be an issue with Dice K, but this season unlike last he's not missing many bats. He's got much catching up to do before he justifies the $8 million price tag.
Garrett Atkins, Rockies
2009 Salary: $7.05 million The Rockies are spending almost 10 percent of their opening-day payroll on Atkins, and Atkins hasn't earned a penny of it. Despite playing in the run-scoring cauldron that is Coors Field, Atkins is "hitting" just .204/.282/.311. And outside Denver, he's slugging just .265. Atkins has helped shanghai the Rockies' hopes for contention, and he's also made it difficult to trade him, which is what Colorado would like to do. You just can't man a power position like third base at a mile above sea level and put up such miserable numbers.
Brian Giles, Padres
2009 Salary: $9 million Doubtless, the Padres are wishing they'd exercised their $3 million buyout on Giles this winter. Giles, who's long been one of the most underrated hitters in the game, is finally showing his age. Petco Park is a brutal environment for hitters, but that doesn't explain away Giles' grim batting line of .197 AVG/.279 OBP/.280 SLG. Recently, Giles was dropped to seventh in the batting order for the first time since 1998. At age 38, he's probably done but not before the budget-conscious Padres give him $9 million.
Oliver Perez, Mets
2009 Salary: $12 million This season, Perez in the first year of a three-year, $36 million pact has been awful, demoted and injured. First came five starts for the Mets, which yielded a 9.97 ERA and more walks than strikeouts. Then came a reassignment to the bullpen. And then, before he could pitch an inning of relief, came a trip to the disabled list because of a knee injury. Perez managed to get in a rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo, but then his knee flared up again. Now, his status is uncertain. What is certain is that he's been a colossal waste of money for the Mets this season.
Carlos Silva, Mariners
2009 Salary: $11 million What does $11 million buy you when you're doing business with Silva? This year, it gets you six starts, an ERA of 8.48 and a bum shoulder. Silva's signed through 2011, and the mutual option in his contract for 2012 means he'll be around even longer. That'll come to $53 million over the life of the deal, plus a $5 million signing bonus. It's one of the worst free-agent contracts in recent memory.
David Ortiz, Red Sox
2009 Salary: $12.5 million Ortiz's struggles this season are well chronicled. Coming off a .143 May but picking up recently, he's hitting just .204 with four home runs in 211 at-bats. When you don't run the bases well and never pick up a glove, your job is to hit well and often. But Ortiz isn't. To put a more damning point on it, Fangraphs has devised a formula to determine what a player would be worth on the free-agent market given his performance to date. The verdict on Ortiz thus far in 2009? He's worth -$3.9 million. Yes, that's a negative sign in front. In other words, he'd owe his team money based on the depths of his struggles.
Brad Lidge, Phillies
2009 Salary: $11.5 million Lidge is in the first season of a three-year, $37.5 million contract extension and, well, maybe the Phillies kept the receipt. Yes, Lidge was otherworldly last season, posting a 1.95 ERA and blowing not a single save. This season, however, Lidge is lugging around a 7.27 ERA, and he's already blown six saves in 19 chances. Oh, and he's also on pace to allow 37 walks and lose eight games, plus he's throwing first-pitch strikes less than half the time. Obviously, that's not what you want from a late-inning reliever. Closers as a species are grossly overpaid, but this season no one's overcompensated quite like the struggling Lidge. He's likely to get better (so long as he remembers how to spot his fastball), but for now he's an expensive liability.