Saturday, February 09, 2008

Great Contract?

Evidently Yes

Johan Santana signed a fat US$137.5 million contract this week with the New York Mets. Richard Griffith highlights the details of the deal in his column today:

A guaranteed total of $137.5 million (all figures U.S.), a yearly average of $22 million for the six seasons from 2008-13. Club has option of $25 million for 2014, but it can become the player's option depending on innings pitched between 2011-13. If the club declines the option, he receives a $5.5 million buyout. If 2014 is vested and Santana declines the option, he becomes a free agent and receives nothing.

It is the highest average salary for a starting pitcher. Rounding out the top five are Carlos Zambrano ($18.3M) of the Cubs, Barry Zito ($18M) of the Giants, Jake Peavy ($17.3M) of the Padres and Andy Pettitte ($16M) of the Yanks.

A monetary concession for the Mets is that $5 million each year is deferred to be paid out seven years later on June 30, at 1.25 per cent interest, lowering the real-dollar value of the contract for the Mets. For instance, Santana would get $14 million this season and then $5 million plus interest in June of 2015 – and so on each year.

There is the usual assortment of bonuses for post-season awards and all-star game, down to $100,000 for winning a Silver Slugger given to the best hitter among NL pitchers. For the record, Santana has eight career hits and a .258 average.

Instead of a regular hotel room on the road, he gets a suite, not uncommon even among lesser talents. He gets a 15-person luxury box for home games in '08 at Shea Stadium and contributes $250,000 per year to the Mets' charity.

Let's see now: If the 29-year-old Venezuelan averages 18 wins per season for the next seven years – as he did for four years as a regular member of the Twins' rotation – it will see the Mets paying an average of $1.1 million per victory.

I'm not sure how any team could justify that investment, but then I don't have hundreds of millions of dollars lying around to invest in a ball club. I just wouldn't get the mindset.


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