“Big Money Leader” or “Big Money Bleeder”?
Written By: Boris Krutiy
Robinson Cano, the most sought-after free agent in a thin class, on Friday agreed to a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners, according to multiple reports, snubbing the New York Yankees after months of negotiations and posturing.
Represented by rap artist and nascent sports agent Jay Z, Cano leaves the organization that signed him at 18 out of the Dominican Republic and helped develop him into one of baseball’s most productive and consistent players.
Unfortuanately for Seattle, recent big signings have not provided instant success for the team as the players have struggled to perform to expectations. Seattle is hoping this is not going to be the case with Cano. In the recent past, situations like these have not always worked out for the team spending their entire wad on a superstar or so they thought was a superstar. Lets think back to some of the more recent big money bleeders and leaders…
1. Barry Zito was the Ace of a very good starting rotation in Oakland which included Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder. Since signing his big money deal across the bay with the San Francisco Giants, he has been anything but stellar. It was not until his second to last season with the Giants that he had an above average year and was probably the strongest pitcher in the postseason, helping the Giants to a second World Series victory in three years. In that 2012 postseason, Zito went 2-0 in 3 games with 1.69 ERA, 13 SOs and 6 BBs. By far his best postseason performance out of 6 trips (left off roster during 2010 postseason).
The Contract: Seven years, $126 million
Stats During Contract: 178 G (172 starts), 58-69, 4.47 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 701 Ks, 578 BBs, 1,006 IP
2. Alex Rodriguez dubbed A-Rod was a great player for many years, though we all know he was juiced as much as if not more than the rest of them. Nonetheless, AROD put up big numbers for both the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, though the big money did not come until signing with Texas, when he re-signed with the Yankees in 2007 his Compensation to Production Ratio was heavily skewed.
Even though he did help the Yankees win in 2009. His lack of production was mostly seen center stage in the postseason. He was great in 2009 when they won the World Series batting .365 with 19 hits which included 6 HRs and 18 RBI. These are big numbers in the postseason so we will ignore the fact that he struck out 13 times in 52 ABs and was probably juiced through it all, especially if you are a Yankees fan. BUT, since that year. A-Rod and the Yankees have been to the postseason in 2010-2012, take a gander at his horrific numbers in his 2010-2012 postseason appearances…
21 Games played, 12 hits in 75 ABs (.160 AVG) with ZERO HRs and 6 RBI (none in 2012).
The Contract: 10 years, $275 million
Stats During Contract: 620 G, .282/.370/.503, 129 HR, 447 RBI, 53 SB
Other such “Big Money Bleeders” would include…
Toronto Blue Jays signed outfielder Vernon Wells to a seven-year, $126 million deal in 2008.
Los Angeles Dodgers signed Matt Kemp last year to a 8-year $160M contract. So far, he has been a Big Money Bleeder because of injuries. He could very well turn into a Leader and take his team to the promise land if he can get healthy and stay healthy for an entire year.
The Boston Redsox signed the injury prone Carl Crawford big money (7-year $142M) in 2011, but quickly dumped him off onto LA Dodgers last year.
Chicago Cubs Signed Alfonso Soriano to a 8-year $136M contract. Soriano was a stud in New York but has fizzled and done nothing but spend time on the bench due to injury since joining the Cubs.
Big Money Leaders include…
Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a 9-year $214M contract before the 2012 season. Though Detroit has traded him to Texas for Ian Kinsler after only 2 seasons, Fielder will continue to show that he will be worth the big money.
Cincinnati signed Joey Votto this offseason to a 10-year $225M contract. Joey Votto has been a perenial all-star and we would suspect that he will continue it but he could fall under the Big Money Bleeders within a few years if the expectations prove to be too much.
Colorado Rockies signed Troy Tulowitzki in 2011 to a 10-year $158M contract. He is, by far, the best short stop in the league and hits for average and power. It does help that he plays half of his games in Coors Field.
Los Angeles Dodgers signed Kevin Brown in 1999 to a 7-year $100M Contract. If you run the numbers, $100M in 1999 would be like $300M in today’s MLB. BUT, Kevin Brown was nothing other than spectacular and was one of the best pitchers of his generation.
He spent 5 years in LA during this 7-year contract and during this time his ERA was over 3.00 only once (2002) which was marred by elbow issues. He was recovering from elbow surgery and experienced setbacks that affected him all year.