A common response to a big contract's criticism usually goes something like this: "It's not your money." This is true. The owner is the one giving out the big contracts, and it is his money. Even in these times when baseball is swimming in money and owners can afford pretty much any contract, there is a cost to an expensive team. This is no more evident than it is with the Detroit Tigers right now.
Not only do you have to pay players several million dollars, players with large contracts are also veterans who cannot be sent to the minor leagues. A team is required to be patient with these players while young, cheap players can be sent out when they are struggling. When marginal players get big time deals, you lose roster flexibility.
Take the case of Gary Sheffield. He's now hitting below .200 without much power to speak of at all, as a designated hitter. Even though he's had shoulder and finger problems, because he is an expensive veteran, he apparently has the authority to stay off of the disabled list? Sheffield is, in my opinion, a Hall of Famer. Over the past 20 years, he has been one of the best players in the game and an underrated performer across the board. The simple fact is that he is not getting the job done right now. While this would normally be acceptable; Mike Hessman, Jeff Larish, Michael Hollimon, and others would probably be outperforming him right now. Toledo's roster is simply overflowing with offensive firepower right now.
How about Armando Galarraga? He's been the best pitcher in the Tigers' rotation this season. For all of the critcism that has been unfairly lumped on him for not being able to go deep into games, he still owns 31% of the team's quality starts, and is the only Tigers starter giving up less than an earned run every two innings. Now, he's the one leaving the rotation and presumably the team to make room for the supposedly healthy Dontrelle Willis. Why is Galarraga on his way out? A rotation full of expensive veterans can't be broken up, regardless of whether or not they deserve it.
Just remember the next time you say "It's not my money." It is your team, and your team suffers when potentially poor veterans are signed to large deals.