MLB Decisions: Brandon McCarthy 2014

Player Name: Brandon McCarthy

Date of Surgery: April 30th, 2015

Type of Injury: Tommy John Surgery

Contract Details

  • 4 years/$48M (2015-18). Signed by LA Dodgers as a free agent 12/16/14. $6M signing bonus. 15:$11M, 16:$11M, 17:$10M, 18:$10M. Conditional club option for 2019 based on days spent on disabled list with a specific injury: $5M club option with more than 179 days on DL or $8M club option with 119-179 days.


Role: Starter

DVS Score: 10

Number of events (injury/surgery) prior to contract: 2

Total IP prior to contract: 1604

Number of events (injury/surgery) during to contract: 1

Total IP under contract (prior to injury): 23

Total days missed due to injury (prior to contract): 681

Total games missed due to injury (prior to contract): 457

Win/Loss record during contract: 3-0

Number of games started during contract: 4

DVS Model Analysis

Measured at start of contract (using innings through 2014)

Relative Risk of Injury: 

163% more than the average starting pitcher with no major injuries born in the same year (1983).

Median Time to Major Injury:

332 innings.

Chance of Having the next Major Injury during Current Contract (assuming 200 IP per year for four years):  

92.1% probability of injury.


Prior to contract, McCarthy missed a total of 457 games over a 7-year period due to throwing-related injuries. Over those 7 years, he was essentially paid to be available for 1,134 games; therefore, he was only able to fulfill about 60% of his contract obligation. Taking this information, we can project his true value to his team. **ALL Injury data from Baseball Prospectus**

Projected value per game

128 Games Started (32/yr), 48 million value of contract, $375,000/start.

If he misses 40% of his games, you take 128 x .4 = 51 MLB starts he would miss, which translates to 128 x .6 = 77 MLB starts made at $623,376 per start.

Essentially, McCarthy has been paid 1.6 times more per start than his contract was intended to pay him, over the life of his career to date. This year alone, with 4 GS in the MLB for the dodgers before his injury, McCarthy made $3,000,000 per MLB Game Started or 8 times more per start than the team expected.  


Based on his past injury history, McCarthy "should have" been offered a 4 year 28.8 million dollar contract to account for the 19.2 million dollars of 'lost' money due to injury time.  And that contract recommendation doesn't take into account his recent injury or DVS mechanical analysis either, which would have devalued his contract even further.  Now, McCarthy would not have accepted this offer, based on the current 'market value' of pitchers similar to him, but the Dodgers would not be on the hook for that lost money either.  


Had the Dodgers contacted DVS before attempting to sign Brandon McCarthy, we would have advised them not to offer McCarthy a contract at all.  The DVS Risk Analysis Model would have helped the Dodgers make a more informed choice, save money, and possibly pointed them in a different direction in which they could have potentially signed a 'safer' pitcher with McCarthy's money.  


Contract details and injury history courtesy of