Playing GM: Dealing With Big Contracts

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Hi. I’m Sandy Alderson. I’m telling you what is running through my mind with regards to players who make a lot of money and how I plan to deal with them. I’m also telling you why all hope is not lost for you (the fans). You’re pretending to care.

Expiring Contracts (2011)

  • Carlos Beltran (makes $20M this year) – There are two options here and as far as I’m concerned one is far better than the other. I’m hoping Beltran is healthy and productive. I’m hoping that come late July a contender with deep pockets, touchable quality pitching prospects and a hole in the middle of their order comes calling. I’m hoping they’ll take the last two months of his contract in full, but if not I’m willing to listen depending on the quality of what I get in return. If I can’t move him at the deadline, I let his contract run out and say thank you for the 7 years of service (sorry Jason).
  • Jose Reyes (makes $11M this year) – Plan A is this. I believe dealing Jose at the deadline is the right thing to do if we are out of contention (which we will be). If I were to re-sign him, I would have to give him years I don’t want to give and money I’m not sure I can afford. It’s a difficult decision because he’s still a fantastic player. But that’s why it makes sense to move him when he still has great value. I can get something significant in return (young arms and a young shortstop ideally) and avoid repeating mistakes that made my job so difficult to begin with. I do not believe Jose is worth the contract he will likely demand (7 years and in the range of $18-20M per year going by market value). I do not believe he will be a great player by year 4 or 5 of that deal – I don’t want to be paying $18M/year to a guy whose game is predicated on speed he can no longer utilize. It’s complicated because I want my bosses to be happy and I want people to show up to the ballpark, but I think in 3 or 4 years it’s better to have a couple of developing pitchers than an aging, injury prone shortstop who I owe a ton of money.
  • The flip side on Reyes – Let’s say I can’t get in return something of worthy value that I’m confident will provide great things in the future. If his production is that good and I can’t get quality young arms in return, I instead try to sign him to a deal more in the range of 5 years – a much more reasonable length than 7. I still believe Jose will not be the same player 4 or 5 years from now, but my boss might simply not let me “throw in the towel” in the short term. If he loves New York as much as it seems, perhaps we will be able to negotiate a reasonable contract, as a large portion of my reasoning for dealing him is based on his assumed length of contract and financial cost (See: Crawford, Carl).
  • Francisco Rodriguez (makes $12M this year) – I call White Sox GM Kenny Williams and convince him that this guy will be able to fix what’s driving Ozzie crazy. If that doesn’t work, I hope he doesn’t finish 55 games (I can’t exactly order Terry Collins to bench him because the players association will get all pissed). If not that, I hope that his contract is voided due to the mental and emotional stress he causes everyone.
Players with contracts extending beyond 2011
  • David Wright (makes $14M this year) – Some fans speculate as to whether David’s situation is similar to Jose’s. As of right now I have no intentions to do anything other than re-sign him. He is the best player on the team, is young, and is the face of the franchise.
  • Jason Bay (makes $18M this year) – Nothing to be done here. I trust that Jason will turn it around and I believe that he will. There will be no takers in a deal and there’s not much sense in trying anyway.
  • Johan Santana (makes $22.5M this year) – Unfortunately, my predecessor was unaware that Johan peaked in 2006. I have no idea whether he will pitch this year or next or what.  It’s an unfortunate situation in which I hope for the best because nobody is taking on his contract. He’s not what he once was but hopefully he can figure out a way to remain effective like Pedro did early in his Mets career.
Taking out the trash
  • Ollie and Luis are owed money this year only. This should further open up room for future (wise) spending.
Why it might all be ok
  • A lot of big contracts will expire in the coming years. Money owed to Carlos, Francisco, Ollie, and Luis are no longer going to be burdens in this rebuilding process. I’m trusting that my bosses and our fans have patience, understanding and faith in the process – a process that focuses on the big picture as opposed to the short term. Within 3 or 4 years things will have changed. There will be less long-term contracts given to players already in their prime as opposed to approaching it. There will be a new team to beat in the east, as the Phillies will be aging. Our farm system will slowly but surely be built up again. I will emphasize pitching because that’s how winners are built.
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3 Responses to “Playing GM: Dealing With Big Contracts”

  1. Jason Says:

    Mr. Alderson

    I respect the fact that you are pretty smart and all, but I have to point an option that you are clearly overlooking with regards to Carlos Beltran.

    Why not try to spend a few million on research to come up with a cure for his degenerative knees? It seems like a pretty prudent thing to do considering he is the best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be.

  2. Summing It Up Nicely « Midwestropolitan Says:

    [...] factual basis for that). I also illustrated how they’re going to deal with certain contracts (linked above, thanks old [...]

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