New Long-Term Contracts

Anybody think Carl Everett's as valuable as Ken Griffey Jr.? By 2003, he'll be paid as much.

Everett's new deal with the Sox gives him a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $4,667,000 in 2000, $7 million in 2001 and $8 million in 2002. This November, the Sox must decide whether to exercise an option on Everett's services for 2003 at $9.15 million.

If they do, Carl Everett will be earning as much as Griffey. After forcing a trade to his hometown Reds, Junior signed a nine-year deal for at least $50 million less than his market value. While Griffey's annual salary is nominally $12.5 million per year, more than half of the money is deferred without interest and paid out through 2024. As a result, the present value of Griffey's deal is about $9.2 million/year, or roughly what Everett will earn in 2003.

Griffey's deal is even sweeter when compared to the contracts of other top free agents. The Dodgers signed Shawn Green for $14 million/year. Mo Vaughn earns $13.3 million/year; Albert Belle, $13 million; Bernie Williams and Larry Walker, $12.5 million. Griffey's former teammate Alex Rodriguez will command twice Junior's salary when he files for free agency after the 2000 season. By the time Griffey approaches Hank Aaron's home run record, he won't be one of the game's fifty highest-paid players.

But the Sox have a major bargain of their own. Before the 1998 season, when Nomar Garciaparra had fewer than 800 major league at-bats, Dan Duquette locked him up through 2004. Nomar will earn just $3.3 million in 2000, rising to $6.85 million in 2001 and $8.6 million in 2002. Assuming he stays healthy and productive, the Sox can then exercise options for 2003 ($11 million) and 2004 ($12 million).

Nomar's numbers are similar to Derek Jeter's -- except for the numbers after the dollar sign. Jeter, who has one more year of major league seniority, won $5 million in salary arbitration last year, settled this year's arbitration claim for $10 million, and was reportedly offered a long-term deal worth almost $17 million/year. Yankee fans can argue that Jeter's worth more...but 50% more?

Even Pedro Martinez's contract now looks fiscally responsible. The game's best pitcher earned the highest salary of any hurler last year, but Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown will soon pass Pedro. In fact, over the last four years of Pedro's contract, Brown will earn $9 million more.

Pedro's a good deal. Nomar's a great deal. But Griffey Junior may be the best deal in major league history.

Copyright © 2000 Doug Pappas. All rights reserved.
Originally published in the March 2000 Boston Baseball

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