Robinson Cano’s Contract: The Other Story

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Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Seven Year Deals

Kevin Brown- The first 7+ year deal in MLB history was signed by starting pitcher Kevin Brown in 1999. In those seven seasons (ages 34-40) Brown had a record of 72-45, a WAR of -0.6 (he never had a positive WAR in his career) and missed approximately 70 starts (10 per year) due to injuries.

Jason Giambi- His contract with the Yankees ran from 2002 to 2008 (ages 31-37). Giambi hit 40+ homers twice and knocked in 100+ RBI three times in that span. He led the league in walks twice and OBP once. He missed a significant amount of time in 2004 and 2007. He batted over .260 only twice in that 7-year span.

Albert Pujols- His first big deal, with St. Louis in 2004, was during his prime. I will give the Cardinals a pass on this. A 7-year deal to a 24-year-old makes sense to me.

Carlos Beltran- Again, a 7-year deal to a 28-year old makes sense. I won’t knock this either.

Barry Zito- Tied with Kevin Brown as the worst long-term contract for a pitcher in history. Zito was 29 when he signed a 7-year deal with the San Francisco Giants. Over the life of the deal, Zito posted a record of 63-80 with a 4.62 ERA and a WAR of 3.0 (not each year, but for the full seven years). After going 102-63 in the seven seasons prior, the Giants had no clue what they were getting.

Vernon Wells- The Toronto Blue Jays signed Wells to a 7-year deal in 2008. He was 29, can’t fault that too much….though the Jays ended up trading him in 2011.

C.C. Sabathia- Sabathia signed a 7-year deal at the age of 28. Can’t blame the Yankees for that. It’s worked out pretty well for them.

Matt Holliday- Holliday signed in his age 29 season. So far the returns have been good for the St. Louis Cardinals. But over the next two – final two – years of the deal, we shall se if the production drops off.

Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury are in the first few years of their deals (Ellsbury just signed). Only time will tell whether they were good deals.

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Topics: Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners

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  • tedsfrozenhead

    I understand your position and it has its validity. I do however have a take on this situation which is quite different and although ultimately it may have readers frustrated it is perhaps the real analysis of a bigger picture in which no solution is possible

    Robinson Cano is not to be blamed for accepting the contract that is offered, While there are people in their chosen professions who weigh the many factors they face when exploring job opportunities, when the money allows you to choose the best place to live, place your children in the best schools available in a relocation situation I believe that the compensation aspect is a dominant force. So, is it Canos fault he took the offer, no it is not. Who among us would pass up such a deal?

    So who is to blame. The easy answer is to say it is the one who is offering the incredibly large amount of money. But the owners are not to shoulder the entirety of the blame. They may be called greedy, and be unliked by the fans of the game but the same logic applies to them as it does the player. It is not the owners fault they offered the money, they had it to offer and have more money in reserve.
    It is those who support the game who are to blame as well. Most likely. They are the ones after all who attend the game, paying outrageous ticket prices, $12 beers and $10 hot dogs and inflated prices for everything available to purchase at the stadiums. They are the ones who buy the merchandise even if they don’t attend the games. But it is also those who do not even watch baseball. They also by products available from the baseball stream even though they might not know it when they buy beer, or peanuts or any other item by a company who is tied to baseball as their costs are all rolled in together.
    So what can be done? Boycotting the game and demand restructuring of the cost tot he average fan which would domino to the owners pocketbook and players salaries. I don’t see how that could happen. Federal intervention and regulation? Probably the most effective option would be for them to cap profits but shall we really take that step of allowing the government into the game? Again, not very likely. No, the simple fact is we have allowed this ugly side of baseball to grow into a monster that no runs free, unchecked and growing stronger every year. There is no viable solution.
    My personal solution is to not indulge in the outrageous food and beverage prices offered at the stadiums and unless they are compensating me to wear their logo never wear any advertising of any kind. Here is San Diego they have $5 tickets where you can sit on the grass and watch the game. Taking advantage of this I can see 20-30 games for what they average family of 4 spend to see 1 game.

    Given all this, I am glad the Mariners got on board and are now playing like a big boy. As for the article itself Dan, you forgot to take into account that in less than 10 years 24million will likely be a more common salary than you are comfortable with and although his numbers will slip he might still be worth that salary in the payrolls of the future.

    • Dan Hughes

      True story on all counts. I don’t fault Cano for taking the money. As you say, who amongst us would turn that down? I also don’t fault the organization for throwing that kind of money at him, when they have it to spare.

      My only beef comes with the length of the deal. If I were a GM, I would never offer a player a 10-year guaranteed deal. That might not get me a lot of free agents, but I still wouldn’t do it.

      What I would suggest – and what I thought of too late to put in the story – is have baseball do away with the guaranteed deals. Be more like the NFL in that regard.

      If you aren’t performing to the value of the contract, I can cut you, owe you nothing and move on to another player, or restructure the deal to better reflect your current value. Just some thoughts.

      I appreciate yours as always.

      • tedsfrozenhead

        I agree…10 years is a scary term. But it had to be done to get the ball rolling. I love the idea on non guaranteed contracts but the MLBPA would probably never go for it. But we can dream…..
        Enjoy your insights Dan, keep up the nice work!

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