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  • 02/07/2012, 09:57PM ET

More ridiculous contract.. Pujols or Kershaw?

Marlins Fan (156-78-31) vs MagicSpecs (4-9-2)
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Albert Pujols signed with the Angels for $240 million over 10 years.

Clayton Kershaw resigned with the Dodgers for $19 million over 2 years.

And Clayton Kershaw's contract was more ridiculous out of the two.

Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher in Major League Baseball. He's undoubtedly the best young pitcher in the game; and definitely the best lefty pitcher as well.

He could've asked for Frank McCourt's head on a gilded platter and the Dodgers would've basically been obligated to bring it to him. Remember, he's only 23 years old and as I mentioned earlier he is one of the very best pitchers in MLB, if not the best. And left handed to boot.

And all the Dodgers offered him was a measly $19 million over two years.

LA should've locked this guy up for the long term. They should've offered him whatever amount of money it took to ensure Kershaw would be wearing Dodger Blue until his prime years had come and gone.

The contract LA resigned Kershaw to was just ridiculous, while Pujols contract with the Angels was more or less understandable.

Sure they gave him too many years.

So what? He's the best overall player in MLB, possibly the greatest of all time.


I will use my first argument to show why Kershaw's deal is not ridiculous, and my second to show why Pujols' contract is ridiculous.
I'm not really sure why this is ridiculous at all. Who is the subject of ridicule? LA or Kershaw? This deal makes sense on both sides:

CK himself 'only' sought a $10m salary in arbitration
There seems to be a new standard in turning arbitration disputes into 2yr contracts. See Tim Lincecom. Double the player request, take a little off. Done.

CK is now set for life
Don't get me wrong, $10m (CK's arbitration request) or even $6.5m (LA's bizarre offer) is more money than Joe Public will earn in a lifetime. But $19m guarantees utter comfort for life for Kershaw and his family, regardless of any future setback.

LA tie up two arbitration years of a young ace
I wouldn't like to be arguing that Kershaw is only worth $6.5m next year. If LA went to arbitration this season and lost (likely) and CK produces anything like a decent season (likely) then he is due a raise in '13. 2012's $10m + 2013's >$10m = more than $19m/2yrs. LA save money, and can attempt a long-term deal in the 3rd arbitration year.

As I see it this deal is win/win.


The Kershaw deal was definitely the more ridiculous of the two contracts.

For one thing, Pujols' deal wasn't ridiculous at all. The Angels paid big money over big years to lock down one of MLB's all time greats. No problem.

But the Dodgers handcuffed themselves by signing Kershaw to a two year deal. Here's why:

Kershaw had three years of arbitration remaining, meaning he will be a Dodger for the next three years regardless.

After that third year, if he's not locked up long term Kershaw will hit the free agent market, at which point he will be worth a near unlimited amount of cash to the many teams that will undoubtedly court him.

Since he's signed for two years, LA's next chance to sign him long term BEFORE he hits the FA market will be in 2014, and there is virtually zero chance Kershaw resigns before hitting the market.

Because a move like that could cost him tens of millions of dollars.

No, Kershaw won't be signing another deal before free agency. It just wouldn't be smart, financially.

Cray thing is, he only asked for $10 million in arbitration.

LA gave up their chances to resign him long term and keep him off the FA market for just $500,000.


I don't see where your $500k value comes from?

There was never going to be a long deal at this point. Kershaw doesn't want to commit long-term and risk missing a free-agency frenzy (or two) in his prime, and McCourt doesn't have the money to pay a young ace when he is trying to sell the franchise.
In light of this, I do not see how a 2yr deal is ridiculous (which I believe is your argument) when a long-term contract was not wanted by one side or viable from the other.

Pujols' contract is ridiculous.
$254m. Want some perspective? In 2003 Arte Moreno bought THE WHOLE ORGANISATION for $180m.
Pujols will be 41 before the last year of this contract. (I will assume his listed age is accurate). Forty. One. That's 5 full seasons after he turns 37. History teaches that even the greatest players fade. Logic dictates it. It is a fact of life. Great becomes good, good becomes meh, meh becomes plain sad.
And whilst he is fading (or faded) the salary goes up. $140m after age 37. Is there any player at any stage of baseball history who was worth even half that money at that vintage?

Whilst the Angels might experience short term gain, they are on the road to long term pain.


The $500,00 comes from:

Kershaw requested $10 mil in arbitration

the Dodgers signed him to a 2 year, $19 mil deal, so

they're paying him $9.5 mil each of the next two years


In essence they gave up their only chances at signing him long term to save half a million bucks. Pretty damn stupid. It's also why the Kershaw contract was stupid. They accomplished next to nothing but gave up the chances to lock him up long term.

You can make guesses at whether or not Kershaw wanted a long term deal if you want to but it's just conjecture. I'm not going to waste time on that.

Regardless, the Pujols contract was a good deal for the Angels.

Last season the Angels ranked 10th in the AL in runs scored, out of 14 teams. They have great pitching but their lack of any offensive threats held them back in a very winnable division.

Pujols is MLB's best offensive player and LA was justified in giving him all that money. He will fix a lot of their offensive problems, with his own bat and with the protection he provides his teammates in the lineup.

Plus, he's in the AL. History shows that hitters can excel at older ages, and Pujols can play DH when he gets old.


If Kershaw won his arbitration hearing this year he would have earned $10m. If he were to have another good year in '12 his arbitration figure could easily be $15m. By buying out the second year in advance the Dodgers look to be saving themselves around $5m. Everyone loves 20% off.

Furthermore, I don't understand why you think they have given up any chances of signing him long term. A contract extension could be negotiated at any time. McCourt has likely saved money in the short term, and not spent money he doesn't have in the long term. When new ownership comes in both Kershaw and LA will be in optimal positions to discuss a deal. New ownership will be able to offer a long-term contract in terms they deem fit, and not be stuck with a contract they might regret from the previous regime.


I can't deny that Albert Pujols COULD live up to his contract. But any combination of injury and decline WILL eventually rob him of his skills. To earn his $250m+ Pujols will need to produce at least 5 or 6 elite seasons, and 3 or 4 good ones. For LAA's sake I hope that he has brought the success they crave before he becomes an albatross on the payroll. It's a ridiculously massive risk.

Comment #1 has been removed
February 7, 2012  10:58 PM ET

Kershaw

Comment #3 has been removed
February 7, 2012  11:24 PM ET

C.J. Wilson lost a division series game, a championship series game and a WS game all in the same season. 1st to do this and he got a ridiculous contract.


Ok, not so much as much of a point there, just a random thought.

February 7, 2012  11:26 PM ET

Pujols contract with the Angels was more or less understandable.

Uh oh. The dozen or so Cardinals fans on here are about to have a collective fit!

Comment #6 has been removed
February 8, 2012  01:10 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Youre right, and it puts Kershaw's contract into perspective, particularly when you think about how superior Kershaw's season was when compared to Wilson's.

Interesting take. I was about to call you an idiot for saying that money-wise, Kershaw's contract was worse than Pujols'. But it makes sense.... whats to stop him from bolting east in 2 years?

February 8, 2012  01:29 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Interesting take. I was about to call you an idiot for saying that money-wise, Kershaw's contract was worse than Pujols'. But it makes sense.... whats to stop him from bolting east in 2 years?

The fact that the Dodgers have another year of control AFTER this contract is up, thus another full year to extend him long term. They essentially bought out two of his three years of arbitration eligibility--they're leasing, but still have the option to buy...

Comment #9 has been removed
February 8, 2012  06:51 AM ET

Marlins Fan, we meet again. Good luck.

Is it just me, or is it amazing how difficult it is to keep inside 1200 characters?

February 8, 2012  07:02 AM ET

Pujols will be lucky to make through year 1 unhurt

February 8, 2012  07:25 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Pujols will be lucky to make through year 1 unhurt

On what basis? He's not exactly got a reputation for being injury prone.
Is there something about the environment in LA that is more of a health risk than in St Louis?

February 8, 2012  08:11 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Youre right, and it puts Kershaw's contract into perspective, particularly when you think about how superior Kershaw's season was when compared to Wilson's.

Comparing these two contracts is more ridiculous than you think the Kershaw deal is. One player is an unrestricted free agent, one is under team control for another three years.

It is entirely possibly that Kershaw, like Lincecum, doesn't want a long term contract right now.

February 8, 2012  08:16 AM ET

Also, I really like Kershaw and completely consider myself a fan of his. I would agree with left that he's the best young pitcher going right now, but he's not the best pitcher in baseball and he's not the best lefty either.

February 8, 2012  08:17 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Interesting take. I was about to call you an idiot for saying that money-wise, Kershaw's contract was worse than Pujols'. But it makes sense.... whats to stop him from bolting east in 2 years?

The fact that he's under Dodgers control for thee more years will stop him from bolting in two.

Comment #16 has been removed
February 8, 2012  09:27 AM ET

Interesting angle, MF.

February 8, 2012  09:28 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Pujols contract with the Angels was more or less understandable.Uh oh. The dozen or so Cardinals fans on here are about to have a collective fit!

Nah. I think it is understandable why the Angels signed him to that contract, I'm just glad it wasn't the Cardinals.

February 8, 2012  09:29 AM ET

Right countered well.

 
February 8, 2012  10:26 AM ET

As I understand it under the arbitration process, you are NOT negotiating a NEW contract but only coming to an agreement to pay fair market value on a remaining contract based on performance.

He will still be a FA in two years and then he will seek the big bucks.

You have to realize the Dodgers owned this guy for the next two years regardless. No other team could touch him.

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