For those of you under a certain age, the answer is no, these aren’t two sleeper prospects for your 2018 Fantasy Baseball roster. In 1953, Clyde McPhatter was the lead singer of the Drifters when they recorded “Money Honey” (later covered by Elvis Presley). Not to be confused with the Lady Gaga song, it’s lyrics include…
Well, I learned my lesson and now I know–
The sun may shine and the wind may blow–
Women may come, and the women may go,
But before I say I love ’em so,
I want–money, honey!
If you wanna get along with me.
The fledgling Motown Records was provided with important capital when Barrett Strong hit the charts in 1960 with “Money, That’s What I Want” (later covered by the Beatles).
The best things in life are free–
But you can keep ’em for the birds and bees,
Now give me money, (that’s what I want), that’s what I want.
As this off-season seems to be slow for free agent signings and there are even whispers of collusion, a look at the landscape tells you that clubs are wary of long-term deals. Five free agents have signed contracts that some may feel are slightly above market…Carlos Santana ($20 Million), Wade Davis ($17 Million), Tyler Chatwood ($13 Million), Zack Cozart ($13 Million) & Jay Bruce ($13 Million). The one thing in common, however, is that they are all 3-year deals. So, let’s give you an opportunity to once again be a General Manager. Based on some minimal research, it appears that there are about 20 current major league players who are already under contract to make at least $15 Million for the 2021 season. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to determine which of these players you would really want on your roster in 2021 at these prices. The figures represent the average salary of a long-term deal. The player’s age for that season is listed to help with your analysis. As you read the names and think, “This guy is on the downside of his career”, remember that three more full seasons need to be played before these salaries come due. And when you wonder why the 2018 market seems soft, this history may certainly be a factor.
> Zach Greinke, age 37, $34.4 Million
> David Price, age 35, $31 Million
> Max Scherzer, age 36, $30 Million
> Miguel Cabrera, age 38, $29.2 Million
> Stephen Strasburg, age 32, $25 Million
> Giancarlo Stanton, age 31, $25 Million
> Albert Pujols, age 41, $24 Million
> Robinson Cano, age 38, $24 Million
> Chris Davis, age 35, $23 Million
> Jason Heyward, age 31, $23 Million
> Joey Votto, age 37, $22.5 Million
> Justin Upton, age 33, $22.1 Million
> Johnny Cueto, age 35, $21.7 Million
> Buster Posey, age 34, $18.6 Million
> Aroldis Chapman, age 33, $17.2 Million
Also above the $15 Million threshold are Freddie Freeman, Dexter Fowler, Kenley Jansen & Elvis Andrus.
OK, GM…how many of these paupers are on your team in 2021? More than five? Of course, it’s an easier commitment when you don’t have to write the check. One of the other key considerations (if you’re still the GM three years from now) is how your budget will look in January of 2021. Why? Because the following players will be free agents at that time…
> Clayton Kershaw, 2020 salary of $35.5 Million
> Mike Trout, 2020 salary of $34.1 Million
> Yoenis Cespedes, 2020 salary of $29.5 Million
> Masahiro Tanaka, 2020 salary of $23 Million
> Justin Verlander, 2020 salary of $22 Million
> Justin Turner, 2020 salary of $20 Million
> Jon Lester, 2020 salary of $20 Million
> Jeff Samardzija, 2020 salary of $19.8 Million
Others available include Yadier Molina, Edwin Encarnacion, Ryan Zimmerman, Jay Bruce, Matt Carpenter & Jason Kipnis. Would you rather have the money to spend on the free agent class?
Wow, this is almost as difficult as owning a Fantasy team. My dilemma in March is deciding how many contract years to extend Corey Seager.