7 MLB Free Agents with the Most Insane Contract Demands
Major League Baseball salaries are admittedly through the roof, but there are free agents each winter who surprise even me. You have to wonder why some players set their own values so high.
The obvious answer is that some team will probably pay the bill, but some of the players have to temper their demands.
Here are seven players who have already publicly stated their contract demands for this offseason, along with their somewhat-steep valuations.
I don’t have a problem with Robinson Cano at all. I think that he is the best second baseman in baseball right now, and if I was a general manager, I would certainly want him on my team.
That being said, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, he is demanding a 10-year contract worth just over $300 million. He would be 41 when the deal is completed. That is old, especially for a middle infielder.
I know that he might be a great player, but these kind of deals never really seem to work out.
I know that Brian McCann is not technically demanding $100 million deal, but it seems like the market might be pushing him towards that type of contract, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
McCann is a catcher who can hit for power, with 20 home runs in 2013, but he has also had some durability issues. He has played in fewer and fewer games in each of the last three seasons, which does raise some question marks in terms of a long-term deal.
The type of deal that McCann may land would probably stretch over five or six seasons and end with him in his middle-30s. That might not be too old for a catcher, but with his body aching already, I would be concerned about this deal.
Jacoby Ellsbury was amazing in 2011. He he hit nearly half of his career home runs (32 of 65) during that campaign. Without that dimension, he is still a great leadoff hitter who led the American League with 52 stolen bases this season, but I am not sure how much that is worth.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, Ellsbury has asked for a $130 million extension from the Boston Red Sox. I assume that he is going to look for a similar deal elsewhere as well.
Without the promise of Ellsbury's power ever coming back again, it would be hard to find this type of valuation. As he gets older, his speed will diminish and his game will become more one-dimensional.
Masahiro Tanaka is technically not a free agent, but the Japanese 25-year-old is likely going to command a $75 million negotiation fee, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Granted, he did go 24-0 this season in Japan with an ERA of 1.27.
Since those numbers do compare favorably with Yu Darvish, it does make sense that he would probably command a higher premium. However, Japanese players have varying levels of success in making the transition to playing Major League Baseball.
Obviously, Tanaka is his own player, and he might make the transition just fine. However, the risk is awfully high for a player who will command a contract on top of that fee and has never pitched in the majors before.
I like “The Freak.” He had two tremendous seasons where he won back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards, but 2012 and 2013 were incredibly difficult. His combined record the past two seasons has been 20-29 and he posted ERAs of 5.18 and 4.37, respectively.
His contract has expired with the San Francisco Giants, but he has already signed an extension worth $35 million over two years. That is a high price to pay for a pitcher who might, or might not, be on top of his game.
I think that I might have been more apt to offer a contract that is heavily incentive-laden rather than guarantee that much money. To show that I am not only presenting the downside, Lincecum certainly has the potential for further greatness. I just don’t know the likelihood of that potential.
Kendrys Morales is expected to turn down a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Seattle Mariners, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com. What that means to me is that he secure a longer-term deal, but at a similar rate per year.
After missing all of 2011 due to injury, Morales has been a consistent presence for the Seattle Mariners. He is good for approximately 20 home runs and 80 RBI per year, which is definitely not too bad. However, at this point, he is largely a designated hitter and that does diminish his value, especially in the National League.
He should not turn down the $14.1 million that the Mariners are offering because I honestly do not think he will be able to find anything higher elsewhere that would meet his demands.
Curtis Granderson rejected a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the New York Yankees, so he seems to be looking for more than that in his next deal.
On one hand, you get a guy who hit over 40 home runs in both 2011 and 2012. On the other hand, Granderson missed a lot of time due to injuries this season. Obviously, an injury might be just a one-year deal, but there is that risk.
If a team is getting a healthy Granderson, paying $14.1 million—or even more—is not at all unreasonable. However, if it's the injury-prone Granderson, it would be a waste of money. That is the dilemma facing MLB decision-makers, and I really do wonder if he will be able to find this kind of contract on the market in terms of an annual average amount.