Athlete Skills Not Filling Out Contract

Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees is set to become a free agent this off-season and has his eyes set on a cold hard $300 million over the course of 10 years.

Cano just this year parted ways with his long time agent, Scott Boras, to partner up with Jay Z, who has made headlines obtaining star athletes including Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and New York Giants wide out Victor Cruz.

But will signing with the hip hop mogul get Cano the contract he hopes for? I say yes, though, whoever invests that kind of money in a single player will regret doing so down the line.

Cano’s numbers speak for themselves. He is a sure-handed second basemen batting .309 for his career with an on-base percentage of .355, and 204 homers.

The one number that does not bode well with me is 30, which is how old Robbie will be as we head into the offseason.

In 2007, the Yankees dished out $275 million with a potential of $30 million in incentives, to their star third basemen Alex Rodriguez.

Hindsight is always 20-20, and A-Rod’s contract could arguably be the biggest bust in MLB history.

Another case we can look at is Albert Pujols, who after winning a second World Series Championship with the storied St. Louis Cardinals, jumped ship to the Los Angeles Angels who had the deepest pockets at the time of his free agency.

Albert was a hot commodity, and in the end the Angels didn’t hesitate to unload $240 million on him after already having played 11 seasons in the MLB.

Pujols will be 41 years of age in his last year of the contract and is due to make $30 million that very same year.

To me it doesn’t seem likely that he will be performing at a value of $30 million a year at age 41.

It is safe to say, after two full seasons with the Angels, both of which they come short of the post season, Pujols has simply not lived up to his overly lucrative contract.

The proof is in the pudding. These players that are demanding such high contract extensions do not pay off for the team long term and I believe that teams are starting to realize that now.

This will most likely make it harder for players, even great ones, to receive the amounts of money they ask for and have the length of contract they desire.

Looking back at the 2013 season, six of the top 10 teams in salary spending failed to reach the post season.

Rounding off the top of that list is, no surprise, the New York Yankees, spending close to $233 million in salaries for this past year.

At the same token, the Tampa Bay Rays since 2008 having lack luster fan attendance and in the bottom 10 spending in that span of time have had three playoff appearances as well as a World Series Pennant.

This past season, the Rays had a payroll of about $57 million according to ESPN payroll rankings.

Compare that to the Yankees payroll topping out at $203 million. Guess who made the playoffs.

Now I know that there are plenty of factors that go into a playoff and ultimately a World Series caliber team.

Injuries are definitely one of the most prevalent factors and the Yankees were plagued with injuries this year.

Kevin Youkillis, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Vernon Wells and A-Rod were among the list that could not take the field for extended periods of time this past season and all of which are among the top earners of their respective teams’ rosters.

I do not fault the players for wanting, nor actually getting their money.

But at the end of the day no matter how you slice it, the MLB is a business first and the business model for player salaries is verging on ludicrous.

Cano should and will be extremely sought after throughout this off season, and being the player that he is, with no off the field issues to speak of, he will be a highly productive asset for any team.

I just hope we don’t see another team hinge its franchise on one player for a decade down the line.