Long Term Nine Figure Contracts Killing MLB: But Not for the Reason You May Think
Updated: Dec 15, 2022
When Carlos Correa signed his monster thirteen year 350 million dollar deal with the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night he became the twenty second player in MLB who was under contract for at least TEN YEARS. This is bad for baseball and I'm here to tell you why.
No it isn't the dollar numbers that have crushed small market teams since the mid 70’s and it won't be the lack of revenue sharing as most of these deals are set up to allow teams to skirt the luxury tax thresholds: Longer deals mean lower average annuals. It's the actual length of these mega deals. But before we get into that here are the deals that have tipped the hourglass.
Carlos Correa: SS, Giants: 13 years, $350 million (2023-2035)
Julio Rodriguez: CF, Mariners: 13 years, $210 million (2023-2035) with options that could turn it into an 18 year 460 million dollar deal.
Xander Bogaerts, Padres : SS 11 years, $280 million (2023-33)
Fernando Tatis Padres: SS 14 years, $340 million (2021-2034)
Trea Turner Phillies: SS, 11 years, $300 million (2023-33)
Mookie Betts , Dodgers: OF, 12 years, $365 million (2021-2032)
Wander Franco, Rays: SS, 11 years, $182 million (2022-32)
Bryce Harper, Phillies: OF, 13 years, $330 million (2019-31)
Francisco Lindor, Mets: SS, 10 years, $341 million (2022-31)
Corey Seager , Rangers: SS, 10 years, $325 million (2022-31)
Mike Trout, Angels: OF, 10 years, $360 million (2021-30)
you get the picture I'm painting here.
This is a ton of cash. Three billion three hundred and eighty three million dollars to be exact. It’s an unreal number: 3,383,000,000. Obviously Aaron Judge didn't make the list because his deal is for 9 years and 360 million. You can add that in if you wish but I'm sticking to my ten plus season game plan here. But this isn't about dollars, it’s the fact that it doesn't make sense for the game as a whole.
Last year in the midst of Judge's mammoth race to get to Roger Marris and 61 the real talk ( Sadly ) was his impending free agency. As it was with so many other names listed above. Who would opt out who wouldn't . Where where's the best landing spots for each and every player. Who would take a hometown discount and who would tell their owners to go jump off their yacht (COUGH, JOHN HENRY, COUGH) With this new wave of ultra long term deals all that ends. The Best players in Major League Baseball are now locked up for ten, eleven and in one case could become eighteen years.
There are three seasons in MLB - The Regular Season. The Postseason, and the Off Season. The off season is becoming irrelevant. And these deals are the reason. It's not just free agency. Players, owners, and agents are cancelling out years of arbitration and free agency by signing young players like Wander Franco before they even get close to the open market. There isn't anything to be done about this. I just want you all to know. The hot stove is going to be set on low as long as these contracts are in vogue.