Good luck getting your money’s worth from pitchers

One of big-league baseball’s great conundrums is the need for pitching and the price of quality pitchers.

That even holds true in the age of analytics. In fact, it may be more complicated now that pitching staffs have cubby holes for starters, right-handed middle relievers, left-handed middle relievers, right-handed set-up, left-handed set-up men, ambidextrous short-men, ambidextrous long men …

OK; such specialization hasn’t tumbled that deep into absurdity. But don’t be shocked if any of the above someday comes to a mound near and dear to your heart.

Let us consider the starters, occasionally referred to as openers, who too often are underachieving and overpaid.

This comes to mind after watching Gerrit Cole pitch for the Yankees on Friday night, Cole’s mastery of painting the black border on home plate was impressive. Even the changeup that  Rafael Devers lined into the left-field bleachers wasn’t a bad pitch.

It was Devers’ seventh career homer in 37 at bats against Cole, who offered a tip of the cap to the Red Sox slugger.

That two-run homer gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the sixth, on their way to a 3-2 win. Cole took his first loss in eight decisions.

He could well be on his way to thoroughly earning the $36 million for his work this season. 

In the world outside big-league baseball’s gold-plated cocoon, that sounds ridiculous.

It also sounds ridiculous to hear that the folks in those fancy lounge chairs at Yankee Stadium are paying upwards of $1,250. For one ticket … to one game.

That is down from $2,500. For one ticket … to one game.

The New York Mets are paying Justin Verlander $43.3 million this season. He spent two months on the injured list with a low-grade teres major strain, (To have that low-grade teres major strain explained, start your search engine.)

Verlander has a record of 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA. 

The Mets are paying Max Scherzer $43.3 million. He is 5-2 with a 3.75 ERA.

That’s more than $86 million for two starting pitchers who have won seven games with the season nine weeks old.

By the way, Scherzer had a 10-game suspension for using a foreign substance on the ball.

At least the Mets aren’t on the hook for Jacob deGrom’s big bucks as he prepares to have season-ending Tommy John surgery. New York let the Texas Rangers sign him to a five-year, $185 million deal.

And to think that the Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in baseball with a payroll estimated at $73 million … for a complete roster. They seem to do this all the time.

If the world were fair the Rays would get to win one championship before free agency decimates them again.

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