Last week, the richest contract ever in professional sports history was announced, as the Miami Marlins inked a 13-year extension with Giancarlo Stanton for a total of $325 million dollars.
That's an average of $25 million per year for the next 13 years.
I personally think the contract is crazy.
I Admit, Stanton Is Awesome
Don't get me wrong. Stanton is an awesome player. I'm qualified to say this as he was a member of my fantasy baseball team for just about all his entire professional career, helping me to some good finishes before (like his Miami ‘real' team) my team fell on some hard times. As I'm back on the upswing, I traded him when I got an offer I couldn't refuse.
Long story short, the guy is awesome, when he's healthy. He's had some health concerns having been injured quite a few times at various points, but none of the injuries he's had has been anything that's considered a risk to his career, meaning there's not been a blown out knee that will slow him down or something like that. His injuries, most recently getting hit in the face with a 90+ MPH fastball, are all ones that are considered fully recoverable with no risk of recurrence since having had it the first time.
All he does is hit and hit well. He's hit some monster balls in his career, and when he's healthy, a home run is a possibility at just about every at-bat. Now that the steroid era is (supposedly) over, there just aren't many ‘pure' hitters in the game, but Stanton is one.
But It's A Deal Bad For Both Sides
However, as much as I love Stanton, the deal stinks for both sides. You might think that based on the fact that I feel Stanton is awesome, this is contradictory, but here's why it's not.
- The Miami Marlins franchise is a joke – They've won the World Series a couple of times in their history, only to go and blow the team up afterward. They have not been relevant in some time.
- Stanton deserves better fans – I hate to rip on a fan base but the basic fact remains that Miami probably has no business hosting a major league team, as fans just don't show up. Stanton deserves to be in a place where he can be cherished, in a place where true baseball fans will cherish him. I'm sure there are some diehards in Miami, but they're few and far between.
- Stanton deserves better teammates – The Miami franchise is notorious for having low payrolls and shipping players out of town as soon as they start getting expensive, which is usually when they start playing well. The rosters, more often than not, feature a bunch of young guys that have potential (a la Stanton a few years ago) or veterans in their last gasp trying to hang on for that extra year or two. While there are a couple of really good players on the Miami roster other than Stanton, the fact is that the roster typically doesn't have enough to be competitive. A special player like Stanton deserves the opportunity to win.
- Not only is the franchise itself a joke, the owner is awful – Jeff Loria is the Marlins owner and he's widely disliked by players, fellow owners, fans, and well, pretty much anybody associated with baseball. He got Miami to provide funding for a new stadium, which he insisted on having a strange design, with the promise that he'd spend money to put a competitive team on the field. He went out and did that, and then after half a season, traded everybody away, returning once again to having a low payroll with low talent. He's meddled in the business of people that he's hired, such as overriding his general manager on trades and even on making lineup changes, much to the chagrin of the manager.
- The contract length is absurd – So many things change over the course of thirteen years that someone is going to get burned if it makes it through to the end of the contract term. If he gets injured often, that's going to be big money for a player that doesn't contribute. If he gets frustrated and doesn't want to be there, you could have a decade long contract in front that suddenly nobody has any interest in. Heck, based on the way salaries have continued to skyrocket, what if $25 million per year is deemed ‘underpriced' after a few seasons? Personally, I can't imagine committing to any job for 13 years, even if they did offer to pay that good.
- No athlete is worth that kind of money – To take it the opposite way from my last point, I just don't see any way where a single person playing a sport is worth nearly one-third of a billion dollars. That's crazy to me. I enjoy sports and professional leagues as much as anybody, but the amount of money that they get paid nowadays is mind boggling, and this just shows that it's not slowing anytime soon.
- The number of seasons – OK, for those who are superstitious, doesn't it seem ominous that it's a 13 year deal?!?
Readers, what do you think of this deal? Are there any Marlins fans or baseball fans in general that can argue that this is a good deal for those involved? I get that the market dictates these types of things, but sometimes the market does go crazy, no?