Sunday, January 06, 2008

'Owners--think twice before signing pitchers to long term deals'--NY Daily News, Bill Madden

  • Bill Madden has the run down. First, his tidbit about Santana:
"Santana is said to be looking for a six-year deal at upwards of $20 million per, and no matter which team ultimately winds up with him, that ought to be a major concern. Over the last 30 years, just about every team that has given out contracts of five or more years to pitchers (see: chart) has been burned. Badly.

Also in '77, George Steinbrenner lured Don Gullett from the Cincinnati Reds for a six-year deal - and paid a similar price. Gullett won 14 games for the Yankees in '77 before blowing out his arm and never pitching again after '78.

  • Former Mets GM Frank Cashen always said one of his biggest regrets was giving Craig Swan a five-year deal after he'd won 14 games in '79. Swan, too, got hurt, missed most of '80 and '81 and won only 19 games over the length of the contract.

And in Atlanta Braves lore, the trading of three top young players, including fan favorite Brett Butler, for Len Barker in 1983 and then signing Barker to a five-year extension has gone down as one of the worst blunders ever. Barker, too, subsequently blew out his elbow and was released three years later.

  • Of course, the most disastrous pitching contracts have come in recent years. In 1999, Scott (Avenging Agent) Boras succeeded in getting Dodger GM Kevin Malone fired by bamboozling him into giving Kevin Brown a record $105 million for seven years and Darren Dreifort $55 million for five. Both of them broke down - Dreifort pitched only three of the five years, winning all of eight games, while Brown missed much of 2001-02 and pitched in only one postseason (for the Yankees in '04 where he lasted just 11/3 innings in Game 7 of the ALCS) over the length of the contract."
From NY Daily News column by Bill Madden, "Owners Should Think Twice Before Signing Pitchers to Long-term Deals," 1/6/08

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