Going Long on Long-Term Contracts
On Tuesday night, the San Francisco Giants signed Carlos Correa to a THIRTEEN-YEAR deal. The overall price ($350 million) is pretty much in line with what we’ve been seeing lately, but the 13 years is what strikes me; that means that Correa is the first player in baseball who is signed through the year 2035.
Correa will turn 41 years old at the end of that season.
Correa’s contract makes him the 14th player in baseball who is signed through 2030 or later for at least $150 million total. Let’s take a look at those 14 players.
Contract: 12 years, $426 million through 2030.
How it looks in 2022: So here’s the odd thing with Trout: He’s got a LOT of wear and tear — he has not played more than 140 games in a season since 2016 — and yet, when he DOES play, he’s as great as ever.
I can’t think of another player quite like that. Maybe Ted Williams in the mid-to-late 1950s; he was always beat up and yet he just kept on hitting like the younger version of himself.
Trout played only 119 games this year — after playing only 36 games in 2021 — and yet he hit .283/.369/.630 with a 178 OPS+ and 40 home runs. We keep waiting for the injuries — particularly the bad back — to impact Trout on the field, and I’m sure it has some, but he’s still absolutely fantastic when he can play.
Would teams sign him right now, at age 31, to what he has left on his current deal — eight years, $276 million with full no-trade protection?
Yeah, I think some teams would. He’s still Mike Trout.
Contract: 12 years, $365 million through 2032.
How it looks in 2022: Let’s examine the players most similar to Mookie through age 29:
The two guys at the top — Green and McCutchen — did not age particularly well. Green retired at 34. McCutchen is a particularly striking warning sign because he basically WAS Mookie Betts: power and speed, won an MVP, won a Gold Glove, etc. After age 30, McCutchen has hit .250/.348/.437 and played for five different teams.
But maybe Beltrán is actually the best comp. Beltran had a couple of great seasons at ages 30 and 31, then he dealt with a couple of injury-plagued seasons, but he was still very good through age 36, and he was a useful player until he retired at 40. That wouldn’t be a bad outcome.
Betts has been an odd superstar in Los Angeles, I think. He does so many things well — this is why I like the Beltrán comp, because that was his deal too — that he put up a great season again, even though he hit just .269 and bizarrely stopped walking. He missed 20 games but still led the league in runs scored. He banged 35 homers, stole 12 of 14 bases, and played electrifying defense, including the handful of games they put him at second base.
He’s got $265 million left on his contract, plus the annual installments from his $65 million signing bonus. Worth it? I think you bet on the character of the player, and there’s nobody cooler than Mookie.
Contract: nine years, $360 million through 2031.
How it looks in 2022: Well, obviously, he just signed the deal … I think a lot of people around baseball think this is an overpay, because there’s just no telling how a guy as big as Aaron Judge will age. But my view is the Yankees HAD to make this deal; they really didn’t have any other options.
And while I don’t think Judge will ever again hit 60 home runs in a season, I do think he’ll be plenty good for the next three or four years.
Contract: 13 years, $350 million through 2035.
How it looks in 2022: Just got this text from actor and mega-Giants fan Colin Hanks (name drop!):
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