The Cost of Injuries

Last year, one of the more popular recurring articles here was the accounting of the Phillies’ various injuries. If you can recall, the Phillies were absolutely ravaged by them last year; in fact, the only regular position players not to miss time due to an injury were Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez. This year is a different story. While the Phillies have had to deal with injuries, the effect has not been felt nearly as much on account of the extreme amount of success they have enjoyed throughout the season. After 128 games last year, the Phillies were 71-57, two games behind in second place. This year, they are 83-45, six games ahead in first place.

The Phillies’ WPHL broadcast posted this interesting graphic in the opener on Tuesday, detailing the long list of injuries suffered this year:

For those keeping score at home, that is 15 different players losing time to injury.

Using information from Cot’s Contracts, we are able to find out how much the injuries are costing the Phillies. Below is a table with the totals and a graph to put it in perspective.

Player Absent $/Gm $ to Date Cost
Lidge 100 $70,988 $9.09M $7.10M
Oswalt 56 $98,765 $12.64M $5.53M
Blanton 100 $52,469 $6.72M $5.25M
Utley 46 $92,593 $11.85M $4.26M
Contreras 111 $15,432 $1.98M $1.71M
Victorino 26 $46,296 $5.93M $1.20M
Polanco 33 $32,407 $4.15M $1.07M
Madson 20 $27,778 $3.56M $0.56M
Schneider 41 $9,259 $1.19M $0.38M
Ruiz 13 $16,975 $2.17M $0.22M
Rollins 3 $52,469 $6.72M $0.16M
Hamels 2 $58,642 $7.51M $0.12M
Romero 14 $8,333 $1.07M $0.12M
Brown 44 $2,556 $0.33M $0.11M

(click to enlarge)

Players listed as day-to-day were excluded, as was Brian Bocock.

The 14 players above have combined for nearly $28 million in missed time, not including the pro-rated salaries of the players who were added to the 25-man roster as replacements, such as Dane Sardinha, Pete Orr, Mike Zagurski, and Juan Perez.

Compared to mid-September last year, the Phillies have actually had more money spent on injured players, even though fewer players have been injured. On September 18, 2010, injuries had cost the Phillies $19.2 million on 582 DL-days. This year, $27.8 million has spent spent on 609 DL-days. Additionally, only one player had spent 70 or more days on the DL — J.A. Happ, 88 days — while three have done so this year. In fact, three players have lost 100 or more days to the DL: Brad Lidge and Joe Blanton with 100, and Jose Contreras with 111.

What is important to note is that the Phillies’ injuries in 2011 have targeted mostly non-essential players. Brad Lidge was, at best, a #3 on the Phillies’ bullpen depth chart going into the season. Roy Oswalt was #4 in the rotation behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels; Joe Blanton was #5. At various points last year, the Phillies went without half or more of their starting infield. As an example, when Halladay threw his perfect game against the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010, Wilson Valdez started at shortstop and Juan Castro started at third base.

Overall, injuries this year haven’t had much of an effect on the Phillies’ ability to perform. Not only have they had significantly more breathing room, but they have had their optimal lineup (or close to it), both in terms of offense and pitching, for much of the season. The Phillies may have lost more in salary, but this year’s injury bug is not nearly as threatening.

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11 comments

  1. bill

    August 25, 2011 09:37 AM

    Mostly “non-essential players”?
    Victorino – 26 days
    Utley – 46 days

    Those two are probably the most essentialy offensive players on the team…

  2. Giving_Chase

    August 25, 2011 10:28 AM

    @bill

    Right, but compared to last year, less key players have missed time.

  3. Chomp

    August 25, 2011 10:35 AM

    Actually, Lidge was the closer going into the season. He only lost his job after getting hurt and Madson stepping in and performing so well.

  4. Ants

    August 25, 2011 08:13 PM

    Do you know if the Phils have insurance policies on these players and if so do they recoup some of the money lost?

  5. Marty

    August 26, 2011 05:21 AM

    Howdy,
    Also of note, if you look at the injured players’ fWAR per game or $value per game and then prorate to 128 games, you $40 million dollars’ worth of value lost to the DL. Throw in Contreras’s, Rollins’s, and Utley’s minimum periods off and that number goes to $50.

  6. Marty

    August 26, 2011 05:21 AM

    Nix Utley. That was supposed to say Hamels.

  7. joe burbidge

    August 26, 2011 03:03 PM

    mr. baer – no offense , but apretty weak and uninformed analysis of this info . i count 6 of the top 8 pitchers they were relying on, including the 3 pitchers they had at closer. also, 6 of their 8 starting position players . i’d say that’s pretty devastating . the depth of this team via the bench and minor leagues is why they have survived injuries at least equal to last season . just worley’s numbers alone almost equals the difference between 2nd and 1st . i would suggest a little more thinking before you slap something together just to see your name in print

  8. Ants

    August 26, 2011 06:41 PM

    Hater alert

  9. Phillie697

    August 27, 2011 01:09 PM

    Bill,

    I got an idea. Since this is your blog and all, next time anyone wants to criticize in a way like joe burbidge, offer him/her the chance to write a column here. I’m being dead serious. We need some amusement before the playoffs arrive.

  10. Max

    August 31, 2011 12:07 AM

    Guys, Dom Brown is overrated and Joe Burbidge is ON IT!

    BTW, anyone remember when they tried Ibanez in the three-spot last season? It actually didn’t fail, believe it or not: .350/.430/.513 in 20 games/93 PA. Small sample size, of course, but surprisingly relatively paid off.

    Also, did anyone else totally forget Juan Perez was sent back down to AAA? It was the corresponding move to the Oswalt activation. Took me reading this to remember that, go figure.

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