As the NHL trade deadline approaches and MLB spring training opens, the contracts of some key players are making sports headlines.
The betting services are wondering if contract disputes will distract the game’s top players and the teams they play for.
Albert Pujols—St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals picked up the 2011 option for Albert Pujols’s contract and will pay the All-Star first baseman $16 million for the 2011 season.
In order for Pujols to come back in 2012, he wants to be paid as one of the top five players in baseball.
Normally, when you hear about situations like this, it is not a top-five player making the request. Albert Pujols is arguably one of the best players in the game and is headed for the Baseball Hall of Fame when his career is over.
But the Cardinals did not want to pay Pujols the money of a top-five player. From the Cardinals’ side, it is hard to build a winning team when most of the payroll is tied up in one player; from Pujols’s side, a top player should be paid like a top player.
The deadline for making a deal came and went, and there was no deal.
Pujols plans to report to spring training, but the notion is that his contract dispute and potential departure from St. Louis after this season will hang over the team like a cloud all season long.
CC Sabathia—New York Yankees
CC Sabathia still has five more years on his contract, right? Wrong.
After this season is over, Sabathia has the option of opting out of his contract and either looking to play somewhere else or hitting up the Yankees for more money.
The distraction started last week when Sabathia arrived at spring training saying that he was not sure if he would be a Yankee when this season was over. When this season is done, Sabathia will have four years and $96 million left on his contract—that works out to approximately $24 million a year.
As of right now, Sabathia is one of the highest paid pitchers in baseball, but he wants more.
The chances are very high that Sabathia will tear up his contract when the season is over and pursue more money. Considering that Sabathia was the only consistent pitcher on the Yankees roster in 2010, the Yankees may be forced to bow to Sabathia’s needs.
Either way, it is already a huge distraction in the Yankee training camp and will only get worse when the season starts.
Delmon Young—Minnesota Twins
Whatever the Twins are doing in Minnesota with their contract negotiations, they are doing it right.
In some good spring training contract news, left fielder Delmon Young signed a one-year deal worth $5.375 million. It paves the way for a multi-year negotiation this season for this promising young outfielder.
The Twins managed to keep star catcher Joe Maurer around for the long-term when Maurer signed an eight-year $184 million dollar deal at the end of last season.