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The Curse of Ned's Millions

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The Dodger bullpen over the last decade has been mostly great, but it hasn't been due to spending.

Live look at the curse of Ned's millions
Live look at the curse of Ned's millions
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

The Dodger bullpen has been one of the best in baseball since Ned Colletti took charge of the Dodgers in 2006. Their 3.64 ERA in that time ranks fourth in the MLB behind reliever factories San Diego, Atlanta, and Oakland. What's even more amazing is that the Dodgers have done it with almost no outside help.

The best pen arms of the Colletti regime have come from the farm or have been low cost reclamation projects. In fact, when Ned actually does give money to a reliever, they instantly crumble to dust, and it happens so often it's fair to say there's a Curse of Colletti's Cash. Here's a look at every reliever that has been guaranteed over $2 million during the Ned regime, and how money ruined them.

Year Player

Salary

(Millions)

Fate
2006 Eric Gagne 10 Threw two innings, but career was already on life support by this point. By WAR one of the most successful seasons out of anyone on this list
2006 Danys Baez 4 Had 102 career saves before coming to the Dodgers, traded to Atlanta in July due to general crapiness.
2009 Guillermo Mota 2.35 One the two exceptions, Mota had has best year in ages with the Dodgers. Of course for Guillermo Mota this still means near replacement level back end of the bullpen type probably pitching over his head.
2010 George Sherrill 4.5 Quickly shuffled to the back end of the bullpen and took up the role of "Left Handed One Out Only Guy Only Used In Blow Out Games" or a LOOGYUSIBOG
2010/2011 Jonathan Broxton 4/7 Was fine until I told my wife "this is the best reliever in the game" and was never the same.
2011 Hong-Chih Kuo 2.725 Finally succumbed to a life time of arm injuries with a nine ERA in 27 innings
2012/2013 Matt Guerrier 4.75/4.75 Missed large chunks of time with injury, was largely replacement level when he was healthy.
2013-2015 Brandon League So much After a few years of success in Seattle instantly became the Dodger white flag.
2013-2015 J.P. Howell 2.85/7/4.25 The only potentially cursed person to have a very good year.
2014 Brian Wilson 10 Way too soon to say he's done, but early results are not good.
2014 Kenley Jansen 4.3 So far so good even with a couple of blown saves, but probably won't be if he throws 105 games this year which seems to be Don Mattingly's goal.
2014 Chris Perez 2.35 Established level of performance is low enough that he may be immune to the curse.

The curse's consistency is something to behold. In the first year of Guerrier's back loaded deal where he made $1.5 million, he was competent enough to be considered "a guy". As soon as his salary shot up, he collapsed. Broxton was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball, but as soon as he gets his payday? Done. Kuo had his arm rebuilt more often than Malibu cliff-side real estate but he gets his $2.725 million and within a year he can't even make the Mariners. Takashi Saito gets $2 million and not a penny more. Totally fine.

On the bright side, there appears to be some gray area between two and three million before the curse kicks in, so maybe, just maybe, Chris Perez will be spared.

Clearly Brian Wilson is in trouble, so my solution is simple. He should donate eight of his ten million to someone who isn't a Dodger reliever, such as me, and all should be well again. It's a tough burden to bare, but I'm willing to do it for the Dodgers.

P.S. I am not a crackpot.