Thursday, December 16, 2010

Absurd Baseball Contracts

                           Let's all point and laugh at the Yankees
Theeeee Yankeeeeeees loooose... Theeeee Yankeeeeeeees loooooose... Hurray! With Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies for the most money per year (though he still left around 18 million on the table) the Phillies are now an absurd Juggernaut in the NL and the Red Sox retain their advantage in the AL, while the Yankees are no different then they were last year except that their already aging team is one year older. Cliff signed for 5 years/120 with a 15 million option for the 6th year. This is the highest per year for any pitching contract, but how does it compare in terms of terribleness with other deals?
      Player            Team Money (in Millions) Years
Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees $275   2008-17
Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers 252   2001-10
Derek Jeter New York Yankees 189   2001-10
Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins 180   2011-18
Mark Teixeira New York Yankees 164   2009-16
CC Sabathia New York Yankees 161   2009-15
Manny Ramirez Boston Red Sox 160   2001-08
Troy Tulowitzki Colorado Rockies 157.75   2011-20
Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers 152.3   2008-15
Carl Crawford Boston Red Sox 142   2011-17
Todd Helton Colorado Rockies 141.5   2003-11
Carlos Beltran New York Mets 137.5   2008-13
Alfonso Soriano Chicago Cubs 136   2007-14
Vernon Wells Toronto Blue Jays 126   2008-14
Jayson Werth Washington Nationals 126   2011-17
Barry Zito San Francisco Giants 126   2007-13
Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies 125   2012-16
Mike Hampton Colorado Rockies 121   2001-08
Jason Giambi New York Yankees 120   2002-08
Matt Holliday St Louis Cardinals 120   2011-16
Carlos Beltran New York Mets 119   2005-11
Ken Griffey Jr. Cincinatti Reds 116.5   2000-08
Kevin Brown New York Yankees 105   1999-05
Carlos Lee Houston Astros 100   2007-12
Albert Pujols St Louis Cardinals 100   2004-10

 Ugh I hate Excel. So how does Cliff Lee's deal and the other deals of the offseason stand up? Cliff's and Crawford's are pretty good, nowhere near as good as say Pujols' deal or even Manny Ramirez's deal, but still pretty solid. Long contracts are strange in baseball because they go about 4 or 5 years beyond the players' maximum effectiveness for no apparent reason. Even though the economy sucks Baseball teams still managed to sign 4 100+ Million dollar contracts this year. Okay, so which of these contracts is terrible? Arguably most of them actually, but sticking to the objectivally terrible ones.
#1 Barry Zito
Single Handedly lead the San Francisco Giants to the World Series championship of last year... by not even being put on the postseason roster. Zito's deal looked terrible at the time but he has had a losing record, a terrible ERA, and has been nothing more than a $5 million innings eater as opposed to an $18 million Ace. Fortunately for the Giants they've had good young pitching from their own system to compensate.
#2 Vernon Wells
This deal was universally panned before last year, but he did have something of a comeback season and could go on to somewhat justify the deal, still he hasn't hit his decline phase yet at which point he'll be terrible in center field and even worse at the plate.
#3 Alex Rodriguez (Second Deal)
The Yankees have had some comically bad deals over the years but this one is perhaps the worst. Coming off his best or second best season they handed him 10 more years at the age of 32. Baseball peak age is around 25-29. However Geriatric A-Rod will be running out there at the tender age of 42 and still attempting to break that Homerun record, so far he's already declined and seems unlikely to hit more than 35 a year till the end of the deal, and while that would break the record he still has to decline further to less than 20 per year. Even if he did break it it would be in spectacularly pathetic fashion. He's also a huge douchebag.
       A-Rod has two pictures of himself as a Centaur on his bedroom wall
#4 Jayson Werth
Jayson Werth has never been a superstar player, so it boggles the mind why the Nationals paid him like one. Actually they had to to afford any free agent since they're so terrible, but seriously he's a 32 year old player with less than 3 full single years at the major league level, he's bound to suck by year 3 or 4 of this deal, and while the Nationals may be good by then due to consistent last place finishes giving them the No. 1 overall pick, this deal still looks horrible.
#5 Ryan Howard
Ryan Howard signed his 5 year/$125 million deal after signing a 3 year/$60 million deal a season before, he'll be 32 when this portion of his pact even takes effect, and presumably only hit around 30 beans a year for the rest of the contract. Why exactly the Phillies felt motivated to sign him 2 years before they needed to for double his value is anyone's guess, "Face of the Franchise" I suppose. He's not even the best offensive player on his own team.

Surprisingly the Yankees don't dominate this portion of the list sans A-Rod's catastrophic deal, but the real question is how much does Albert Pujols sign for next offseason. He is, after all, one of the top 5 best players of all time and still quite a bit more effective than essentially everyone else over the past 4 years. He would've won the MVP last season if the Cardinals had won their division and he certainly deserved it as much as Votto. Ideally he'd have had 4 consecutive MVPs going into free agency, but oh well. My old guess was 5 years/$175 million, but he could just as easily get 10 years/$300 like A-Rod (he has a $25 million incentive for breaking the HR record) while presumably not decaying as badly as he did. He is worth 2-3 times as much as Ryan Howard at the same age I'd wager, so why not toss him 5 years $375 million just to be fair? Bahahaha.

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