Wednesday, January 05, 2011

96 Million Clams is a LOT of Clams

Once again Scott Boras worked his magic and got his player a sum nobody thought possible. The Athletics offered $65 million to free agent, Adrian Beltre. He turned it down. The Angels offered $70 million. Beltre turned it down. "He's over played his market," said this great northern Maine sage. Ehhhhhnnnnttttt. Wrong again moron. The Rangers, who were broke a year ago have signed Beltre to a six year deal worth $96 million. That's a lot of money and that's a long time. Granted, it's not as much money as Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford. But it's a lot.

In 2010, Adrian Beltre had a $28 million season. In 2004 he had a $31 million season for the Dodgers. In between, his seasons have come in at: $8.4, $18.1, $12.4, $17.9 and $11.2. Those are hard numbers to get a fix on, no? So yeah, one early projection says he'll be worth $23 million this season. If he is, then the Rangers are good as gold. But what if he comes in at $12.4 again? What is he going to look like in three years?

And one thing the Fan doesn't understand at all is how contracts are constructed for these 30-something players. For example, Beltre starts this year at $14 million and increases about $2 million a year. All the experts agree that ball players are worth less every year as they get into their thirties. Why aren't these contracts front loaded? For example, it's a reasonable risk for Beltre to be worth $20 million this year. So why not start him out at that and then gradually decrease it so that when he is worth less, he'll be getting paid less? Is it some kind of psychological thing where a person feels less appreciated if he makes less money?

If that's the case, shouldn't millions of dollars make those silly feelings go away? The only important figure for the player is the total value of the deal over six years. Who cares how the money is split up as long as it all adds up to $96 million.

But that's the way these things go and that's why these long term deals become albatrosses at the end. And as Derek Jeter's situation proved, once those long term deals are done, a player has a big problem taking a big pay cut that's really cosmetic because the money Jeter made last year was based on his play in 2003. Again, it doesn't matter how the years are structured as long as the bottom (and total) line are the same.

But in any case, the Beltre signing should make the Rangers prohibitive favorites in the AL West (which they were already). The Rangers were all about preventing runs this off season. Keeping Cliff Lee was their number one goal to achieve that goal. But since they lost out on Lee, they will prevent runs a different way by putting together a dream team of a left side of the infield. Beltre and Andrus will be awesome to watch together.

But again, long term? This deal looks scary. The short term gains will make the Rangers' fans pretty darn happy.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

Good player, but they definitely overpaid for him.