Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Santana Deal; Read it and weep


The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting with more detail the terms of Johan Santana's deal with the Mets. It's six years of absolute commitment, plus one year of likely commitment:

Santana got a six-year deal with an option for 2014. The terms:

2008: $19 million

2009: $20 million

2010: $21 million

2011: $22.5 million

2012: $24 million

2013: $25.5 million

2014 (option): $25 million, with a $5.5 million buyout.

Note: It’s a vesting option that can be triggered with innings pitched or a high finish in the Cy Young voting. Santana also received a full no-trade clause. The average annual value of Santana’s six-year deal is actually $22 million.

And so Johan Santana is a Met.

Here are the details as reported today by the New York Post:

The two-time Cy Young winner with the Twins receives a six-year extension for $137.5 million to go along with the $13.25 million he was already owed for 2008. The total package is for $150.75 million over seven years. Some of the extension money will be broken off as part of a signing bonus to bring Santana's 2008 salary closer to $20 million.

The deal obliterates all multi-year contractual records for pitchers. He exceeds Barry Zito's total contract of $126 million with the Giants and Carlos Zambrano's average annual value record of $18.3 million with the Cubs. Santana's annual average is $21.54 million.

Read it and weep for several reasons.

I know I'm going to be put into the 'old grouch' category. Or the 'this is real life so stop the whining' category. But I can't stand where pro sports have gone and where baseball has gone in particular.

Yes, the Indians and a few other teams have figured out how to contend - at least for a few years - before they are forced to rip it up and undergo urban renewal again.

While the Indians seem set up for another six or seven years of being "in it," there are many teams whose fans are going to wake up on Opening Day this year, next year and the year after that, knowing full well that their season will be over by Memorial Day - Fourth of July at the latest.

The Tribe was successful with this current rebuilding, but what about the next time they have to tear it all down and start over. What if they trade off their then-aging stars for a lot more Martes than Sizemores? Then they get into a can't-win cycle like the Pirates and Orioles, where they have no more stars to trade and a farm system full of stiffs.

The fact of the matter is it is already too damned expensive for a good percentage of fans and it's getting worse. The small-market teams will find it ever harder to compete.

The Santana signing, and others that will follow, will just make the situation worse.

Yes, it's possible to get a ticket to Jacobs - er Progressive Field for $5 or $7 if you want to sit in the far reaches of the upper deck in right field while the setting sun shines directly in your eyes for six innings. But for the most part a decent experience at a Major League park is a costly, one-a-year, event for many many families and out of reach for others.

The Santana contract should be cause for Tribe fans to weep as well. At least those of us who were still holding out hope that CC would remain with the team beyond this season.

The Mets just committed to Santana for seven years.

One slip on a wet mound during a game that's being played through a hurricane because the home team doesn't want to lose the big gate to a rainout, and the Mets could be looking at a $20 million hole in their payroll for years.

Should the small-market Tribe make the same kind of commitment to CC. I don't think so, but it's a moot point. Whether you think CC is worth the gamble or not, the Tribe won't roll those dice.

1 comment:

moose said...

bedard to the mariners - couldn't the indians gone after him - er get brenden donnelly

three weeks to spring training and it looks tribe is staying status quo