The worst contracts in all the land

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MLB Trade Rumor’s Tim Dierkes offered up some food for Spring Training thought this week as he ran down his list of the 45 worst contracts in baseball. Tim lists two current members of the Yanks’ 40-man roster and one guy DFA’d last year:

  • Jorge Posada, Yankees. Four years, $52MM ($13MM per year). Signed November of 2007.
  • Hideki Matsui, Yankees. Four years, $52MM ($13MM per year). Signed November of 2005.
  • Kei Igawa, Yankees. Five years, $46MM ($9.2MM per year). Signed in December of ’06, this was a clear and poorly thought-out response to Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka signing.

If those are the worst contracts the Yanks have, we don’t have much to worry about. Sadly, though, I think Tim misses the mark. Let’s first dismiss these three contracts. Kei Igawa is a legitimately bad deal. The Yanks had a knee-jerk reaction to the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing and inked Igawa to a ill-fated four-year deal. Much of that, though, is the signing bonus, and Igawa costs the Yanks just $5 million in taxable expenditures. That’s not too bad a deal for a team with the Yanks’ deep pockets.

Jorge and Hideki present interesting case studies in contracts. Posada’s deal wasn’t bad and still has the potential to be good. While he is a 37-year-old catcher, he is coming off of some very stellar seasons at the plate. The deal became bad on a cold night in April when Posada threw out his shoulder. This injury had nothing to do with wear and tear behind the plate, and he should be able to come back as well as anyone his age could expect to. If Posada eventually becomes a full-time DH and hits as he has in the past, the deal still looks fine.

Hideki Matsui is good when healthy, but good health has eluded him lately. He missed much of 2006 with a shattered wrist and has since encountered knee problems. He’s in the final year of his deal and will DH. The Yanks would probably agree with the assessment here: The money could have been put to better use.

So what’s missing? Well, Fack Youk and I are on the same wavelength here. When I read this list 24 hours ago, I first thought, “Alex Rodriguez.” On Tuesday, Fack Youk wondered why the Yanks’ third baseman isn’t on the list. Jay rests his argument on PED use and the Scandal of 2009. I dissent.

Rather, A-Rod‘s deal was bad from the day it was signed. Sure, from a business perspective, the Steinbrenners must have thought it would pay off. But from a baseball perspective, what team in its right mind would sign a 32-year-old to a ten-year deal worth as much as $300 million? While the deal is structured so that A-Rod earns just $21 million in 2015 and $20 million in both 2016 and 2017, no GM would ever sign a 40-year-old to a three-year, $61-million deal. This contract was bad before the PED problem; it’s just gotten worse.

In a similar vein is Derek Jeter‘s deal. Jeter is owed $42 million over the next two seasons, and I’d say Jorge Posada is more likely to earn his money than Jeter is his. (This evaluation of Jeter’s deal may be unfair because the Yanks signed him to a ten-year extension knowing they would be overpaying him at the end. Perhaps this deal evens out in the long run.)

Finally, Ken Davidoff adds his two cents to this discussion. The Yankees, he writes, currently have $91 million in committed payroll for 2012. If CC Sabathia opts out as I expect him to do, that figure drops to a still-unreasonable $68 million. The Red Sox meanwhile are one of three teams with $0 owed to players in 2012.

While the Boston figure would have risen had they succeeded in signing Mark Teixeira this winter, Davidoff’s point is that the Yanks are limiting their future flexibility with some questionable deals. Less than one-sixth of the team will earn $91 million in 2012. How do you fill up a roster without zooming past that $200-$250 million level and still win?

The Yanks’ approach over the last eight years has always been spend, spend, spend. While the organization has tempered that spending with some player development, money remains king in the Bronx. If the Yanks don’t win over the next few seasons, the final years of these very long contracts won’t appear promising.

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  • Rich

    As I mentioned on Davidoff’s blog, Boston in all likelihood will be committing major money to Beckett, Papelbon, and Bay in 2012.

    As for A-Rod, if this off season proved anything, it’s that the Steinbrenners need to pay more attention to Cashman’s input when deciding whether or not to hand out massive contracts to players over 30, since he was opposed to giving A-Rod a contract if he opted out.

    Hank once said that Cash is more reluctant to spend their money than him or his brother. Duh…and with good reason.

    • Ben K.

      At the risk of over-praising Boston’s front office, you’re probably right, but they won’t do it unless they feel Beckett, Papelbon and Bay deserve those contracts. Then you have to evaluate how those contracts look over the duration and not in the now of 2009.

      • Rich

        That’s probably true because they are run the way that Cash would like to run the Yankees, but otoh, when the Yankees are your primary competition, it can motivate you be extremely aggressive (case in point, the bid for M’zaka), and locking up those players may end up being a consequence of that dynamic.

        There have also been reports that Boston is focused on signing Mauer if (when?) he becomes a FA after the 2010 season. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Yankees decide to bid on him, or do they forbear as a result of the (continued) development of Romine and/or Montero.

        • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

          As great as Mauer is, if there’s one area for position players the Yankee farm system is stocked on, it’s catcher. Our starting and backup catchers will likely come from our system, and we still should have at least one extra to trade.

          Also, if there’s any one position where you worry about most about players breaking down as they age, it’s Catcher. I like the idea of the Yanks being young and having some depth at the position, as opposed to getting locked in to an aging star. Posada’s deal works out well for the Yanks if you plan on incorporating the young talent, they simply reduce his playing time as he ages and work the young guys in. Montero or Romine should be ready to play everyday by 2012, when his deal expires.

          All of that being said, I just checked and Mauer will be 27 in the 2010 season. A 7-8 year deal should be a good investment for somebody. I just don’t see the Yanks having Mauer and Posada on the same team.

          • billbybob

            If Joe Mauer becomes a free agent, I guarantee the Yanks will be in on him. They would be crazy not to.

            • Bo

              It would be crazy to be in on him if they have 3 young, good catchers ready to play.

              • Bill

                At this time only Montero and Romine are feasible options to start at C. However most would tell you Montero is not a feasible option because he will not remain at the position.

                That leaves just Romine who so far looks promising, but its a bit optmistic to say the least to assume that a guy who hasn’t played past low-A ball will be the Yankees starting catcher in 2011. Even if he is the future starting C for the Yankees he probably won’t even be ready by the 2011 season. This year he’ll be at Tampa, next year in Trenton, and 2011 he should be slated for SWB. Even if he gets pushed up the ladder quickly he’d have to do some really impressive things in the minors to keep the Yankees out of the Mauer bidding.

                And if Montero is able to hang at C his defense also won’t have him ready for starting gig by 2011.

                As for the rest of our prospects. Cervelli is a backup with the ceiling of a defensive minded starter who would only be a slight upgrade over Molina at the plate. Anson and Pilittere are the only other catchers that are close and neither of them figures to be anything more than a backup.

                The rest of our catching prospects haven’t even played in full-season minor league ball yet.

  • AndrewYF

    Then again, teams with no players signed past 2012 also will have to rely nearly completely on their own farm systems and trades, as it looks like free agency is past its peak, and more and more teams are locking up their young stars. This past year may be the best free agent crop we’ll ever see.

    As much praise ESPN and SI heap upon the Boston system, do you really trust them to produce an entire team with it? Theo Epstein has proven he’s not exactly a brainiac when it comes to trades that don’t involve an Arizona official spiting the Yankees.

    The Yankees have just as much flexibility as anyone, except they actually have players that will still be with them. Really good ones. Remember that the Yankees seem to have at least $60 million more to play with than the next team. And haven’t we just seen that money is absolutely not an issue when it comes to free agency?

    Don’t confuse financial efficiency with actual smart baseball.

    • anonymous

      Haven’t I heard Matsui brings in a ton of money and easily pays for himself?

      • anonymous

        Accidentally added this as a reply to your comment.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      “Theo Epstein has proven he’s not exactly a brainiac when it comes to trades that don’t involve an Arizona official spiting the Yankees.”

      If you’re referring to Schilling, that’s not what happened at all. I guess you either forgot or don’t know about the Thanksgiving Theo spent at the Schilling’s house. Curt WANTED to be a Yankee, didn’t want to play for the Sox an Theo did a great sales job on him. It also helped that the D-Backs GM liked the Sox farm system better than the Yankees, but if Theo wasn’t aggressive, Curt Schilling would have been a Yankee. Read Torre’s book, its all in there.

      • AndrewYF

        So because Theo spent time at Curt Schilling’s house, that’s why the Arizona GM demanded Carl Pavano from him, and demanded Johnson and Soriano from the Yankees? Okay.

        • AndrewYF

          Not Pavano. The other guy. Fossum. It didn’t matter how much Curt wanted to be a Yankee, the Arizona GM made ridiculous demands from the Yankees and accepted crap from the Sox. I’m extremely glad the Yankees didn’t make that trade the way Arizona presented it to them.

      • steve (different one)

        have to say even though the details are off, Andrew’s version is closer to the truth here.

        what happened:

        before the 2002 season, the D-Backs had a handshake deal done with David Wells. he went in for his physical, and the doctor couldn’t make it and needed to reschedule.

        in that brief window, despite having all winter to talk to Wells, Steinbrenner decided he HAD to have Wells. he swooped in and signed him to a 2 year deal.

        Colangelo was FURIOUS (rightfully so).

        before the 2004 season, when Schilling was on the block, it was well known that Schilling wanted to be a Yankee or a Phillie, with the Sox a distant 3rd.

        with lingering hard feelings over the Wells deal, the D-Backs were not going to do the Yankees any favors. they asked for BOTH Soriano and Johnson from the Yankees, while they eventually settled for a bag of balls from the Sox.

        yes, Theo went to Schilling’s house and sold him on Boston, but Andrew is right in that the repercussions of George’s actions 2 years earlier affected the negotiations.

        i will get some links later but i don’t want this post eaten.

        • steve (different one)

          BOSTON — Blame George Steinbrenner for this. Better yet, blame the way Steinbrenner conducts his business. If he hadn’t treated Jerry Colangelo like one of his kick-me yes men, Steinbrenner might have watched Curt Schilling hold Boston to one hit over seven innings Sunday, saving a Yankee pitching staff that was leaking more oil than the Exxon Valdez.
          Steinbrenner clashed with the Arizona CEO over matters involving Buck Showalter, Bernie Williams and David Wells. So before Colangelo was ejected from the game by his Diamondback partners, John McCain had a better chance of winning the Democratic nomination than Schilling had of becoming a Yankee.

          Ditto for Randy Johnson. “(Johnson’s) a dominator,” Steinbrenner told Sporting News Radio over the summer, “and we’d love to have him.”

          In his last Diamondback act, Colangelo loved nothing more than denying King George the pleasure.

          But at least Johnson didn’t end up where Schilling did — in the last place the Yankees wanted to see him. Colangelo had asked the Yanks for the absurd price of Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson, accepted Boston’s reduced-rate package, and left Steinbrenner to go with Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown and a rotation that would struggle right now to beat the Diamondbacks in seven.

          • steve (different one)


            Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo is not going to trade Randy Johnson to the Yankees, partly because New York doesn’t have much to offer and partly because Colangelo does not want to assist the Yankees. In 2001, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner upset Colangelo by convincing David Wells to back out of a deal with the Diamondbacks and re-sign with New York.
            — Newsday (7/30)

            • steve (different one)


              Schilling, who had a no-trade clause in his contract with Arizona, had initially told the Diamondbacks he would go only to the Yankees or Phillies, the team he’d helped pitch to the ’93 World Series. But when the Yankees and Diamondbacks couldn’t match up, Boston became a player last weekend. On Monday, Schilling talked about the attractiveness of the rivalry, how it mattered little which side of that rivalry he was on, as long as he got to be part of it.

              That changed yesterday, after he accepted a two-year, $25.5 million extension from the Sox that could easily carry through the 2007 season if he meets makeable performance incentives based on his durability.

              “I guess I hate the Yankees now,” Schilling said last night.

              And perhaps, although he may never admit it, D-Backs owner Jerry Colangelo has a bit of revenge for the gamesmanship Yankee owner George Steinbrenner pulled on him last year when Colangelo thought he had a deal made with Wells only to have The Boss lure Wells back to New York at the last moment.

      • Bill

        Simply put the D’backs wanted Soriano and Nick Johnson from the Yankees and ended up taking Casey Fossum from the Red Sox. I give credit to Theo for convincing Curt to go to Boston, but the Diamonbacks decision to accept significantly less than they were demanding from the Yankees had nothing to do with that.

        In fact the D’backs were vocally displeased with how the Yankees front office signed (in their opinion “stole”) David Wells the offseason before shortly after Wells had agreed in principal to join the D’backs.

        They were more than happy to see Curt off to the Red Sox. While they did like Fossum at the time there is no GM in their right mind that would’ve taken Fossum at that time over either of Soriano or Nick Johnson, but yet the D’backs demanded not one but both of those guys.

        Spite was clearly a factor in that decision.

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Sheesh Ben, stop taking shots at Jeter =P

    Anyway. I agree about A-Rod’s contract. committing ten years to him when you don’t even know what you’re going to get this year is not the best idea Brian Cashman has ever had.

    • Bo

      Don’t know what you’re going to get this yr? I think we can all safely say that A-Rod has been remarkably consistent in his career and healthy. if you are worried about the health of every player in every contract you shouldn’t be handing out any deal over 1 yr.

    • jsbrendog

      I agree about A-Rod’s contract. committing ten years to him when you don’t even know what you’re going to get this year is not the best idea Brian Cashman has ever had.

      wasn’t cashman’s idea. he DID NOT want them to sign arod to such a deal, if at all.

  • Ed

    Is Jeter’s performance on the field worth $42m over the next two years? I’d be pleasantly surprised if it is.

    Is Jeter’s performance on the field plus his value in merchandise and ticket sales worth $42m over the next two years? I’d be shocked if he wasn’t worth well more than that.

    While I do agree that A-Rod’s contract will most likely play out horribly, I don’t think it fits with this article. Every other contract on the list is a contract that clearly is horrible based on the value received so far during the portion of the deal already played out. A-Rod is one year in, and according to FanGraphs he was worth $27.8m while payed $28m, meaning he earned 99.3% of the money he was paid. No complaints there.

  • John

    A-rod’s contact equals best ever!

    Seriously though, I’m more worried about Tex’s contract. Sure he is great but he isnt one the best like A-rod and even Jeter (to some degree) were when they signed. In the late stages of the contract, we might have latter-day Giambi 2.0

    • Bo

      How can you even compare Tex to Giambi? As athletes and as complete ballplayers and in lifestyle it isn’t even a discussion.

      • jsbrendog

        seriously, giambi is almost 40 and single and still parties. he is also a big bulky guy who NEVER played good defense and was a power hitter who for some reason could not hit the ball the other way.

        tex is a married man, sems much mroe itnroverted and on the outside seems to be calm and the exact opposite of giambi. he is a gold glove 1st baseman, seems to be more agile and durable and his game is equally based on power and avg/getting on base.

        might he be a bsut near the end of hsi contract? possibly

        is he comparable to giambi in any way other than position they paly? nope

  • Bronx Baseball Daily

    I don’t think it’s fair to give the Yankees a pass on Igawa just because part of it isn’t taxable. They still had to pay the money. It was a bad process as a whole that they should have avoided completely.

    • Ben K.

      True, but “worst” would seem to count for something a little more drastic than $2 million per year than what they’re paying Damaso Marte. It’s a bad contract, and it was a bad idea. But it’s hardly one of the “worst” deals in the game right now.

      • Bill

        You can’t take out the posting fee either. Sure if doesn’t show up on the payroll, but it was still an investment made into one player.

        I think Igawa may have been the worst signing the Yankees have made in recent years. Possibly worse than even Pavano. Why? Well because it was a bad decision from the get go. Igawa had proven nothing, we had lack luster scouting on him, his stuff was always mediocre, most Japanese starters had struggled to make the transition to the majors, we overbid for him, we underbid for the much better option (Dice-K) and there were better proven options out there for similar money when you factor in the posting fee. For example Ted Lilly who had success in the AL East could’ve been had for similar money. In the end he would’ve cost a little bit more when you consider the extra money that would go against the luxury tax, but the risk would’ve been minimal with the risk on Igawa great and the potential reward being a solid bottom of the rotation starter.

        At least with Pavano at the time we signed him, the deal made sense. When we signed Igawa most everyone jumped to the conclusion that this was an obvious overreaction the Sox getting Dice-K and that conclusion has since been proven correct and then some. In fact Igawa’s contributions have all been negative had we given his innings to any random AAA guy or journeyman FA we proably would’ve gotten better results.

        • ceciguante

          i agree completely, bill. pretty much every serious fan winced when the yanks plunked down $46M for this bum, and the return has been awful performance. to try to justify it by saying that the tax paid on that deal (by definition, a small fraction of the amount paid) is foolish. i see sox fans shovel that same reasoning for why ‘zaka is really only a $50M player, and it’s no less ridiculous in that context.

          $46M for essentially no return = *horrible* deal

          • mustang


            Where have I heard this argument before sounds familiar some how?

            Totally agree Bill, but ceciguante and me have done this dance before to no end. Somehow Ted Lilly had nothing to do with Igawa. (There were reports that said otherwise). And paying 46 million for an AAA player was OK because they saved 5 million on the tax. When for an extra 14 million (using ED’s numbers) they would of had a #3 or #4 starter.
            1- 46 million minus the tax saving for nothing
            2- 60 million for a #3 or #4 starter.

            • mustang

              And they had a chance to dump Igawa to the Padres and at the very least save some of the money they lost.

              Nope not Cash if anything he is loyal to his mistakes.

    • Ed

      Igawa is costing the Yankees $50m over 5 years, including the luxury tax. Actually, less than that, as the luxury tax only applies to the 40 man roster. ~$43m if he’s never readded to the 40 man roster.

      Assuming the Yankees would have matched the offer the player ended up accepting, these are the alternatives, luxury tax included:

      Ted Lilly – 4 years, $60m
      Gil Meche – 5 years, $82.5m
      Jeff Suppan – 4 years, $63m
      Jason Schmidt – 3 years, $70.5m
      Barry Zito – 7 years, $189m
      Vincente Padilla – 3 years, $51m

      In hindsight, clearly you take Ted Lilly. But the Yankees had him in the past and never were thrilled with him, so it’s understandable why they didn’t want to bring him back.

      Maybe Meche works out ok in the long run. But it’s a lot of money for a career 102+ ERA (and that’s after the 128 and 107 seasons he posted as a Royal that no one expected).

      I suppose you in an awkward way you could say signing Schmidt was a win, as his contract is most likely covered by insurance, which basically means the only cost of having him is takes up a 40 man roster spot during the offseason.

      Anyway, back to my point. The Yankees felt they needed another pitcher, and the free agent pickings were really slim that year. Igawa was the least expensive bust available, so it could’ve been worse.

      • Bo

        Theres a lot worse deals out there than a starting pitcher making 5 mill.

  • Drew

    Matsui brings in tons of revenue from overseas, besides the fact that when healthy he’s a quality clutch bat. Simply put, if we win this year with Hideki as our DH/LF he will become even more revered in Japan. Young Japanese ball players will want to be a yankee like him, as if they don’t already. As for Jorge, jeez he gets hurt once in his career and hes not worth 13 million a year? Come on, if the economy wasn’t so bad and guys like Abreu weren’t forced to sign for cheap, a 13 million dollar all-star champion catcher wouldn’t seem so bad.

    • Dave

      Can you explain how it is reasonable for you to say that the jeter deal would even itself out even if he is overpayed for this year and the next while the arod contract could not have the same results? I find it interesting that they are mentioned one right after the other, arod just happens to be the best all around player in the game and yet, arods deal has no possibility of being so valuable in the next six or seven year that the last two or three could be evened out? And besides, when considering this deal, we should really take into account inflation and the amount of money the better hitters are being payed in 2016 and 2017.

      Look at how much contracts have risen in just the past few years. It is certainly reasonable to assume, a steady escalation over the next nine years. When pujols lands that first over 30 mil a year deal guaranteed and some player like hanram breaks pujols record, who knows how high these ridiculous contracts will climb?

      By 2016, a 40 year old at 20 mil per season may sound reasonable. I mean are we even that far away right now? Manny is 37 and rejecting two years and 45 mil deals with only one team left in play in a terrible market. In any other off season, manny would have signed 4 plus years at over 20 mil per. The question really is, will arod still be producing at 40 and the answer is maybe, if the media leaved him the F alone IMO. But really, if manny at 37 can make 2 years and 50 mil in a recession/depression in 2009, wouldnt it be reasonable to assume arod at 40 may be worth 3 years and 61 mil or 2 years and 40 in 2016 or 2017? I would think so.

      • Mike P

        I agree with you mostly. The structure of the Arod deal helps a lot. The reason it’s not a good deal (not that bad of a deal though) is that they’re paying him more than anyone else would for the first few years AND take on the risk that for some of the next 10 years they will be overpaying when better alternatives are available.

        If, Longoria say, is available in 6 years for $30 million per year and the Yanks are overpaying an inferior Rodriguez, you consider it a bad contract. Of course, contract lengths often favour players and teams have to back down to get their man. The thing with A-Rod is, how realistic was it that anyone else offer him anywhere near what the Yanks did?

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      “Tons” is being generous. Estimates I’ve read have those deals at a few mil per year for the team. Bringing in Japanese stars has more to do with developing a future fan base than bringing in revenue today.

      • steve (different one)

        yup, i’ve read about $3M/year. mostly from the signage in the ballpark from Japanese companies.

        the rest of the overseas revenue is mostly split 30 ways.

      • Drew

        Fair point, but I think we can agree that a WS title would only increase that revenue.

  • dan

    I didn’t mind the money in A-Rod’s deal, but I’m not sure what they were thinking with giving him 10 more years. Who has ever really been good after age 40?

    • Tom Zig

      Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens say hello.

      • Daniel

        Except Arod won’t be on steroids at the end of his career (hopefully).

    • Chris

      Willie Mays. Hank Aaron.

      No, they weren’t as good as at their peaks, but they were still good.

  • dan

    Then again, we might look back in 15 years and say that A-Rod was underpaid, as salaries continued to sky-rocket. Remember when Piazza had the biggest contract in baseball, as 7 years $91 million (signed in 1999)? A lot can change in 10 years.

    • Dave

      Yea thats what I was saying. In nine years, there could easily be 400 or even 500 million dollar contracts. A guy like hanley ramirez if he continues to produce like he is could rake in the money when he is a free agent in a few years. Then, the next big star will likely make even more than him. By the time arod is 8 or 9 years in – 20 mil probably will seem like chump change compared to current contracts like piazzas does now.

      • Mike P

        Except the A-Rod contract might prevent them acquiring Hanley Ramirez, when it wouldn’t have if shorter. If you’re slightly overpaying A-Rod in 6-9 years and he’s still one of the best third basemen around, fine. If he’s become second tier, you’re committed to having him around when you might have wanted to replace him with next big thing.

        • Chris

          There’s a ton of value in the last few years on A-Rod’s contract because of his probability of breaking the HR record. The Giants home attendance dropped by roughly 4000 fans per game after Bonds left (and it’s not like the teams were good Bonds’ last few years). It’s impossible to predict exactly what impact having A-Rod chase the record will have, but if you’re going to sign him for 5-6 years, you may as well tack on the last couple to ensure that he breaks the record and finishes his career as a Yankee.

          • steve (different one)

            no, there WAS a ton of value in breaking the HR record.

            much of that has evaporated the last few weeks.

            but part of this analysis is a little unfair b/c the Yankees didn’t KNOW about the steroids.

            if they did, do you think they would have given him the same contract? i don’t.

            i don’t think it is fair to blame the FO for being blindsided by this. as far as they knew, he had passed every drug test since 2004, including the WBC blood tests.

            • Chris

              I think that some of the value is gone, but A-Rod is at least as popular/liked as Bonds, and he still brought the fans to the ballpark. If I were comparing A-Rod to the impact of someone more popular (like Jeter or Ripken), then I would agree with what you’re saying, but I’m comparing him to a guy that had syringes thrown at him.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      That was the idea when they signed him, all Baseball deals look cheap by the end of the deal. Baseball has averaged 10% annual salary inflation since 1995.

      But that was before the economy collapsed, and it appears it will not get better anytime soon. Salaries FELL this off season, and promise to do so again next year. 10 years is a long time, but as of today the previous salary inflation trends don’t seem to apply.

  • Dave

    Oh and resting the argument on peds use is absolutely idiotic. If he produces next season or even the following season like he did in 2007, no one in their right mind could say that arod is only a good hitter because of peds use? Frankly, there has been testing since he came to the yanks and his two babe ruth-like seasons happened to occur almost a decade apart so it is ridiculous for anyone to assume his caliber of hitting is based on roids use without assuming he has done PEDs his entire career.

    But then, he plays in two WBCs with the most strict drug policies of any event surrounding the MLB using a blood test and nothing has shown up in those either. So why would he risk that and why would no abnormal readings show up in a blood test? Of course, there are undetectable substances like HGH but to take that kind of risk without really knowing is just beyond stupid and i dont think any player would willingly take a blood test while using PEDs. Plus, substances like HGH which evade urine tests can be tested for with blood samples and certain abnormal levels.

    Therefore, his 2007 season and likely his first full season on the mariners which were his best seasons im sure had nothing to do with peds and everything to do with talent. One more big season like that under this scrutiny and very few people will continue to buy the arod is only good because of the roids argument. Outside of the occasional article and fenway park, I dont really think those two will get mentioned in a sentence much after another ridiculous season. So then what? Does the contract go back to being decent again?

    • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Dude, the harm from his PED use is already done. There is no undoing it.

      His reputation, his ability to bring in the big bucks as the guy to ‘cleanly’ break the all-time Home Run record? It’s not the same as it was.

      And he’s not doing himself any favors, either, by saying anything (no matter how harmless) or letting his drug-supplying cousin (no matter how qualified the circumstances) drive him and his friend to the ballpark.

      There comes a point where you can’t be naive any more.

      Hell, I’m (almost) 23 years old, a full on 10 years (at least) younger than Alex, and I know that Yuri driving me would have been a bad idea…

      Alex is a grown man. He needs to start acting like one.

      • Dave


        While i agree that alex was stupid to have his cousin drive him or lie about the PEDs being overt he counter (which was probably the only thing I really got angry about) I dont agree with the first part of your comment. I really dont. This is NY – the fans will come by the truckload to see the yanks and to see alex if he continues to produce like he has so far. I think the PED issue will fade if he continues to win mvps and actually help the yanks win a championship. Alex is not scarred forever by this. It seems like that now but americans by nature are a forgiving and forgetting crowd. We love to forgive.

        And it is impossible to believe alex is continuing to use now so at the very least, even the dumbest fans of the bunch will have to believe he is clean from here on in. Finally, i think most people realize that no matter how many roids a baseball player takes, it will likely not make them a superstar player and one of the best of all time.

        Mcgwire is a fringe HOF and he was one dimensional with that being power so of course, people will still believe now that peds brought him over the hump to HOF worthy and so, they wont elect him in. But guys like Arod and even bonds and clemens did not become the best of all time by using roids or hgh. There is just no way. Particularly, arod who is a multidimensional talent who has never really shown any significant deviation in his numbers throughout his career.

      • Will

        Are we concerned about Alex’ reputation or performance? If anything, the stain of the PEDs could actually drive Arod to be even better over the next 9 years as he seeks to restore some credibility to his name. As a Yankee fan, that’s all I care about. I am more than happy to let the morality police in the media hem and haw over PEDs.

        • Bo

          I could care less about his reputation. His performance is all that matters. It is about wins and losses. Not if the middle aged white sports writers “like” him.

  • Dave

    Alex wins the mvp and carries the yanks to the playoffs – all his original supporters will love him again

    Alex carries the yanks to a championship – every yankee fan will love him

    Alex wins more than one mvp and more than one championship with the yanks – even the NY media will love him

  • Johnny

    How exactly does boston owe $0 in 2012???
    remember when they gave extensions to two guys IN THE LAST 2 MONTHS?

    this is cot’s contracts numbers for boston

    dice k, youkliss, and pedroia make up 30 mill in obligations for 2012. they have a bunch of decisions to make regarding players that will command pretty big deals. papelbon(no decision there, really) lester, bay, and to a lesser extent, beckett(age) could be looking at long term or gone in the next few years.

    I get the point that salary flexibility is an asset, and that the red sox are a bit more vigilant in that respect, but don’t exaggerate when the facts make the point just fine.

    • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      Flexibility is also relative to your annual payroll. If the Sox average 160 mil payroll than 30 mil for 2012 is about 20%. If the Yanks average 200 mil, the 68 mil would be 34%. Not crazy. If you look at it in terms of actual dollars (which is the better way to do ti) the Yanks would have 132 mil available to spend, wheras the Sox will have 130 mil. Now its dead even.

      Also its worth noting Paps, Lester, Ellsbury, and Delcarmen are all still arb guys, so that 30 mil figure will likely go significantly up if they lock them up. Beckett and Bay are also big decisions for them, as you noted.

      Also, long term deals only bother me when they’re TOO long (A-Rod) or given to the wrong type of player. I don’t mind being locked in to Tex through age 36, I do mind being locked in to Giambi at that age. Tex is much more serious about staying in shape and doesn’t have the steroid rep Giambi always did. So Tex figures to age better.

      • Tony

        great points

  • Simon B.

    I’m still angry about the ARod contract, and it has little to do with the recent revelations.

    If you remember last offseason well, you’d remember that there was a surprisingly low amount of interest in ARod from other teams and the Players Union was actually considering investigating whether there was collusion involved a la Barry Bonds.

    Then all of a sudden, you hear he “crawls back to the Yankees”, and I’m fairly excited because I thought maybe that means he’s willing to take a huge discount. Wait no, he signs for about twice as much as I thought he would sign in the first place. And it all seemed so hastily put together. Did the Yankees just agree to whatever he wanted? I seriously doubt any other team would consider giving him a contract within $100 million of that amount. Not only that, it’s HEAVILY frontloaded, which (despite what a lot of people seem to think) is a decidedly bad thing.

    So he fucked you over in losing the Texas subsidies. He’s having trouble on the open market (Yeah, I know, he still would’ve gotten a ton of money, but not even close to what you gave him), and yet you give him essentially a $300 million contract WITH NO FUCKING PROTECTION in case something like the PED crisis has caused. What’s more it kind of hurt their bargaining position. They swore up-and-down all the time that there was no way they would be in the market for ARod, but now everybody knows that’s a crock now and they’re slaves to their impulses.

    I couldn’t believe that a lot of people were calling it a good contract then.

    • Mike P

      It’s not a good contract. Having it frontloaded helps for future flexibility and is not too bad because he’s actually worth the money at current performance levels. Financially of course it’s not a good thing, though I believe it has more to do with his potential home rune bonuses than anything else.

      I agree with you 100% on mishandling the negotiating process. The one argument for giving him close to what he wanted though is that he’ll be a happier, more effective A-Rod than if he feels underpaid. That’s the same argument going on with Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers: is a $50 million happy Manny better than a $45 million miserable Manny? I disagree with that point of view, just playing devil’s advocate.

      • Simon B.

        No, no. This misconception has to stop.

        There is very little reason to frontload a contract in a league with no salary cap. It is always favorable from a business standpoint to delay payment on everything you can assuming there is no additional interest.

        The money they give to ARod now could be put to other uses. If nothing else, it would generate additional revenue from the interest.

        • Bo

          How has A-Rods monster contract affected them from improving in other areas?

          I kinda remember them bringing in 2 good pitchers and an all star 1b the next yr.

          These teams make billions. If they couldn’t pay these salaries they wouldn’t offer them.

          I love how the owners have flipped this. Now we talk about overpaid players and not billionaire owners who throw money around.

        • Mike P

          I fully understand this, as I said financially it is nominally not a good deal (though if you project deflation for the US economy that’s another story). The only advantage to the Yankees of frontloading the nominal is so that home run bonuses don´t cripple their budget down the line. I believe if you add in $15 million worth of bonuses at the end of the contract (which could be in one season if he hits 755, 762 & 763 the same year), it actually becomes somewhat backloaded. Of course you’re right about the time value of money, you’ve just misunderstood the structure of Arod’s bonus clauses.

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  • joeyD

    Having contract committments is not, in of itself, a bad thing. In 2012 the Red Sox, like all teams, will have to field a team. So the fact that they have no committments for 2012 means they will have to negotiate these contracts at a time when the wages could be considerably higher. Normally it is best to have players signed to long term deals. It just so happens that we are in an economic downturn where one year or two year deals seem to be preferred . Most likely, this will not continue.

    Most teams in MLB would love to be able to say they have 4 or 5 potential All-Stars locked up for the next 3 years, as the Yankees appear to have. But I guess it comes down to looking at the glass half empty or half full.

  • Tony

    Ben, I agree with most of your points. The only issue I have is that if they want to field a competive team in the future – they will need to spend in excess of 200k – 250k. My response is so what. The yankees generate the revenue & that is one of their strengths – so why not exploit it.

    It is a reality that to obtain exceptional players on the market – you will need to overpay the on the back end of those contracts. If you always refused to overpay – you will lose out on premium talent & in my opinion not field the best team possible.

  • joeyD

    “If the Yanks don’t win over the next few seasons, the final years of these very long contracts won’t appear promising.”

    This is why the Yankees can’t “win”. If they were to cut payroll and not win then it would be said they were being cheap. If they use the money and don’t win, they spent too much money. If they spend money and win, they “bought the championship.”

    The purpose of them spending the money is NOT to ensure or guarantee a World Series title. The purpose of them spending money is to give them what they feel is their BEST CHANCE to win.

    It is like when an athlete trains for the olympics. If he doesn’t win the gold medal it doesn’t make his training and sacrifices a waste of time in retrospect. All of the training and sacrifices gave him, what he felt, was his best chance to win. Unfortunately, he was competing against other athletes who also wanted to win. The fact that he didn’t win doesn’t make everything he did to try to win a mistake or an error in judgement.

  • Bo

    Tim should stick to doing what he does best. Posting links to already published stories. His analysis is always pretty terrible.

    • Mike Pop

      That’s kind of harsh. I agree his analysis isn’t amazing but he knows what he is doing. The dude is a machine.

  • LeftyLarry

    I know this is heresey but MAriano’s contract could come back and bite also if the shoulder starts barking or the operation at his advanced age leaves the cutter with a little less bite.

    • AndrewYF

      I don’t think I would care about the contract if Rivera never has another good season. We got to witness the greatest season of the greatest closer of all time last year.

  • steve (different one)

    how many people thought that Damon would work out so much better than Matsui in 2006 when they signed identical contracts?

    Matsui has been one of Cashman’s worst contracts, and i doubt many people had a problem with it at the time it was signed. that’s why it’s so easy to judge contracts with 20/20 hindsight.

    again, it’s not Matsui’s “fault” that he broke his wrist in 2006, but i am just evaluating what happened.

  • Januz

    Once again, people are looking at contracts and using them as end all, to determine team profitability and competitive growth. That is a classic mistake in business forecasting. You have to look at all projected assets and liabilities when you do that. For example: The New Yankee Stadium will be a cash cow for the team (Why else does Boston want a salary cap so badly?). To be fair you must deduct debt service from the equation, but Yankee Stadium will be more profitable then Fenway Park (Which is why I am glad, they spared no expense, and created a state of the art facility).
    As for Arod, at this point in time, the Alex Rodriguez contract, looks terrible. But five years from now, it may not be. There are a couple of scenarios where the equation could change: 1: He may not be on this team, because his conduct, and the pressure involved in the Bronx, could push him to BEG to be traded (See the Texas Rangers and Arod as an example of this). 2: As he approaches Bonds & Aaron, people’s attitudes towards steroid usage, and him in general, could have changed, and he could bring the Yankees millions in marketing dollars (Keep in mind, I am probably Arod critic NUMBER ONE on this board, and I am stating this). In addition, other contracts will be coming off the books, such as Matsui. Damon and Nady this year, Jeter & Rivera next year, and then Posada in 2011. So this offsets the Rodriguez contract, to some degree.
    What I see as the future for 3 of the 4 sports (The NFL is VERY different, because of TV money, and revenue sharing), is what we saw in the offseason. Where stars will get their money (See Teixeira & Sabathia), but the middle guys (See Abreu & Anderson) are the ones that will suffer.
    In the end, I project that Yankees will be fine, and will do well on AND off the field.

  • http://Cashman YanksinCA

    This all boils down to Cashman, and how bad of a GM he really is. He’s kept afloat by the amount of money the Steinbrenners are willing to spend each year. If you put Cashman on the A’s or Braves (who don’t have the Yanks money), he would run them into the ground.

    You read all of these articles about how Cashman was forced into offering some of these contracts. So why doesn’t he leave and go to another team if he doesn’t have 100% control? All it does is make him look bad when they acquire Giambi, Pavano, Igawa, Kevin Brown, Jeff Weaver, Wright, Womack, Vazquez, Randy Johnson, Pudge, Contreras….should I keep going?

    • Rob in CT

      He made his stand a few years ago. The Steinbrenners apparently promised him much more control. Since then, the farm system has become productive. FA deals since that time have been mixed (some good, some bad, some… special – Mariano & Posada). Trades have largely been good, though the jury is definitely still out on the Nady/Marte trade (if Tabata reaches his supposed potential as a Pirate, ouch).

      Look at the example explored early on in the comments to this post: the whole David Wells Curt Shilling connection. Basically, the whole bloody sock thing happened in large part because King George is, among other things, an obnoxious jerk. Ownership meddling with the roster has happened repeatedly (Sheffield > Vlad) – thankfully less so since 2005.

      As for why he doesn’t leave… he’s worked for the organization a long time and they pay him a very large sum of money. Plus, they promised to back off and let him run things. By all accounts, had they refused that last bit, he would’ve left.

      I won’t claim that he’s one of the best – I don’t think he is. I think he’s merely solid.

  • Greg

    Boston has Pedroia, Youklis and Dice-K signed in 2012…

  • bpasinko

    The Giants signed a 37 year old Barry Bonds to a 5 year $90m deal.

    Not really the same as what a 3 year $61m for a 40 year old Arod is, but it’s similar.

    I still agree the Arod contract was/is gross. The Yankees were negotiating with themselves.