Wednesday, November 28, 2007

That Guy Whose Contract is Outrageous

Posts have dried up a little here as I prepare to move into my new house. I've also been working on a fiction novel for a couple of weeks. But I have not neglected all the baseball news.

I almost enjoy the Hot Stove League more than the actual baseball season. If there was a fantasy Hot Stove season (cha-ching - money making idea!), I'd be all over it.

I look at these guys like Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews, Jr (both of whom have signed with the same team, incidentally) and I wonder why they'd want to be That Guy Whose Contract is Outrageous and universally hated because of it.

Sure, they're financially stable for the rest of their lives, but at what cost? Would you rather be Mike Lowell-stable, where you're making more money than you could imagine plus you're happy every year and contending for a title with people you like and respect? Or would you rather be Johnny Damon and get an extra $5-10 million - money for which you have no purpose - and be miserable because you've left behind your teammates and friends for an environment in which you don't belong? I mean, Johnny's clearly not happy, right?

I'd take the Mike Lowell deal. Or the Curt Schilling deal. Who wants to be Barry Zito? Or Darren Dreifort? Or - God forbid - Mike Hampton? Not I. Those guys will be punch lines for years, as well as marquee players in the Worst Contracts of All-Time articles and books.

I just wonder why a guy like Torii Hunter - who seems like a great guy, by all accounts - would want to do that to himself when he could be making really unbelievable money that wouldn't have blown anyone away. Say, 4 years and $60 million.

Maybe it's just my personality; I prefer staying out of the limelight for any reason other than my talent, knowledge, work ethic, and morals.


Jason Mittell said...

One big difference is that you don't (presumably) have an agent whose job it is to convince you that every extra million is worth even more in respect (minus 10% for him). It becomes about the money only if you're convinced that more money means you're worth more, not that you're just being paid more. I'm sure Hunter's agent convinced him that being highly paid is the best indicator of his talent, not an indicator of the Angels' fiscal ineptitude.

Hopefully one of the benefits of another year of Schilling is that he can communicate the joys of being agentless to some of his younger teammates!

Red Sox Stats Guy said...

That's a good point. Guys need to be stronger - like Kenny Rogers - and get rid of their greedy agents who make them look bad - like ARod.

Schilling is a somewhat unique case; he's very intelligent, so he can negotiate his own contract. Most guys can't do that.