Monday, January 12, 2015

ICYMI: Should MLB Eliminate Guaranteed Contracts?

"That's right, ladies. I'm awesome."

TGP commenter Jeff Levin is having a pretty good week.
http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/2015/01/should-mlb-eliminate-guaranteed.html

On Sunday Daniel posted an article covering a conversation he and Jeff had in the comment section of a previous article. Here we are today, and it's my turn to bring up a quick conversation that Jeff and I had on Monday in another comment section.

Mr. Levin felt that it wasn't right that players in Major League Baseball had guaranteed contracts. Why should Alex Rodriguez get paid all $61 million left on his contract after admitting to steroid use, having two hip surgeries, and producing at replacement level when he has played recently*?

* I wanted to be fair and point out that while ARod hasn't played like he did in 2007, his triple-slash of .265/.352/.428 with 25 home runs in 710 plate appearances between 2012 and 2013 is better than "replacement level".

Jeff didn't mean to just pick on Alex, as he did mention others that haven't lived up to their contracts like Josh Hamilton, Prince Fielder, Carl Crawford, and Barry Zito. No matter who he did or didn't bring up, or whether you feel they did or didn't live up to their contracts, Jeff brings up a very good point. Especially when you see players in the National Football League get cut and lose money all the time.

While the chances of teams being able to cut players without paying them the money left on their contracts are as good as a salary cap being implemented in MLB, that doesn't mean it's pointless to talk about.

Okay... maybe it is pointless. But why not do it anyway? It's not like you have something better to do than read about baseball. Am I right?

I agree that teams should be able to cut players based on under-performing, being convicted of a crime, or failing a drug test (and probably a few other things, but I'll let you discuss that below). But I don't agree that those players should lose every cent owed to them. At least not in every case. I mean, if a players is convicted of rape or murder, then MLB should totally cut ties with the player and not pay him another penny.

But if a player goes from finishing in the top five of Cy Young Award voting for three straight years from 2009 to 2011, to having a combined ERA of 4.87 from 2013 to 2014, then perhaps their team shouldn't be on the hook for all $73 million left remaining on his contract (assuming his option for 2017 vests).

"Wait a second..."

Let's keep going with the case of CC Sabathia. There could be a clause in his contract stating that if his ERA rose above 4.50 for at least two straight seasons, the Yankees could cut him and only have to pay him 50% of the money remaining on his contract. In Sabathia's case you have a vesting option to deal with, and my thought would be that it would be considered guaranteed. Therefore, the Yankees could cut CC now and only have to pay him $36.5 million instead of the $73 million still remaining (again... assuming the vesting option is guaranteed).

Of course, CC's high ERA could be due to injury, meaning the reason for cutting him may have to be different, but you should understand where I'm coming from.

This could all just be more Yankees fans crying about having to pay big money to under-performing players that make a ton of money like Rodriguez, Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira. But I don't think you can totally dismiss this idea, either.

Oh, and one last thing, regarding the first picture in this article... I doubt Jeff looks like Neil Patrick Harris.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)