If that sounds ominous, that’s because it is.
It’s something you say to someone you’re interested in for a short-term relationship that’s 50/50 (at best) of evolving into something lasting.
I get this sense with the Marlins contract with Jose Reyes.
It breaks down like this via Cots Baseball Contracts:
12:$10M, 13:$10M, 14:$16M, 15:$22M, 16:$22M, 17:$22M, 18:$22M club option
Do you see what I see?
The Marlins are paying him a fraction of what the contract is worth over the next two years when they’re likely to get the best production from Reyes at age 29-30; then the salary jumps significantly to $16 million, then to $22 million for three straight years.
This is eerily similar to the backloaded contract they gave to Carlos Delgado in the winter of 2004-2005.
The Marlins only paid Delgado $4 million in 2005.
They didn’t win and without a no-trade clause, Delgado was traded to the Mets—the team he’d spurned as a free agent the prior winter—and said negative things (there should be a club for this) about the way he was approached by Mets assistant Tony Bernazard.
The Mets were on the hook for the remaining guarantee of $41 million after the Marlins kicked in $7 million in the trade.
Another typical “business expense” for the Marlins and Jeffrey Loria.
If Reyes is as naive and desperate to feel wanted as Bob Klapisch implies in his ripping the Mets for letting Reyes leave, then he might truly believe that the Marlins decision to backload the contract similarly is financially motivated, but so they can sign other players and not because they’re going to, oh I dunno, trade him as soon as he starts making $20+ million.
But that’s not naiveté. That’s stupidity. And Reyes isn’t stupid. He wanted guaranteed money and he got it. Accepting the absence of a no-trade clause was part of the contract and he’s going to get paid; after the details of the deal came out, it became clear that in addition to wanting to get paid, Reyes doesn’t care by whom.
And unless the Marlins win big and draw fans to that new ballpark, he’s going to be plying his trade elsewhere by 2014 at the earliest.
Clearly, he’s not bothered by that fact.
If Reyes wanted to feel wanted, the addendum with the Marlins should be “for now” because he has no idea whether he’s going to be in Miami for the long-term.
The Marlins are actually taking a risk here as well because if Reyes gets hurt, they won’t be able to give him away with that contract.
Don’t think this is a great contract for either side. Because it’s not.