I apologize for not writing as much recently. I've been cutoff from editing the site at work, so I can't publish anything from the hours of 8am - 5:00pm. It really bites. Somehow this "upgrade" in web security coincided directly with me receiving a SECOND 19 inch flat screen computer monitor (your tax dollars at work). With that kind of screen coverage, I could've really ramped up my output. Instead, I'm forced to test the limits of Websense and search for proxy sites to get around the new security upgrades. Wish me luck...
Anyhoo, the point of this post is really summed up in the title, so I don't have a whole lot more to add. Well, maybe I can add a little. While I am not holding out a ton of hope that A-Rod gets his ass handed to him in this negotiation and ends up around 23 per year or something, I think 30 million over the course of the contract to be WAY out of whack with reality. If you look at the recent deals of the last couple offseasons, there were some fantastic players signed to big deals who didn't even come CLOSE to 20 million per year. That number is just no feasible any longer. Albert Pujols, a guy who will be on the shortlist for greatest right-handed hitters ever when all is said and done signed a 7 year deal for $100 million dollars... AND PUJOLS IS JUST HITTING HIS PRIME. A-Rod has AT BEST 4 more years of elite play before he will likely enter a period of significant decline. During those years (in the right stadium) he'll probably hit 45 home runs, knock in 130 and hit .300 while playing above-average defense on the left side of the infield before ultimately moving to first. During those years he will probably be considered the best player in baseball, and for that he should be paid as such. But what will that mean?
To be the highest paid player in baseball, all he needs to do is get back to the $25 million range (Giambi is currently the highest paid player at $23 million). If he made $28 million, he'd be making twice as much as Albert Pujols. Is he twice as valuable on the field or at the box office or as a revenue drawer in any market not named New York or Boston? Cuz I gotta tell you, I don't think A-Rod is making $30 million worth of difference to an L.A. team or the Tigers. He needs to be in a baseball town in order to have the kind of impact that Scott Boras talks about. On the field there is NO WAY he is worth $30 million no matter what he does. If A-Rod goes to the Dodgers, those seats will still be empty until the start of the third inning and will re-empty in the seventh to beat traffic. A-Rod isn't going to change an entire culture. Even during his next couple elite years, his old salary would have been too high in terms of comparative value to players across the league. And that's not even getting into the length of the deal. Is there any way a team can justify paying Alex Rodriguez $25+ million when he's 37-38 years-old? I'm sure the average salary will have increased by plenty in those 5 or so years, but even still he'd be getting paid at the top of the grade. It would make sense for him to get $25+ for the next three years and then gradually start decreasing the value to the teens as he takes the fateful turn from 36 on downwards. Sadly, sense is something baseball contract negotiations lack.
I'm not saying that A-Rod doesn't deserve to be the highest paid player in the game from now until 2010. I just think that he shouldn't be paid so much more than the next guy unless he's going to outperform the next guy by so much or unless he is going to add some off the field value to the team he ends up with. If logic were ruling the day, how could you possibly consider paying a corner infielder $20+ million per year into his late 30's when the best corner infielder in the game was signed for half of that at his prime. I am holding out hope that A-Rod will have to pay for giving up the biggest deal of all-time. It would certainly be some pretty sweet justice.