Athletes make an absurd amount of money, there’s no denying that, but that’s not the point. The point is, these so-called “mega-deals” never actually work out for the franchise that hands them out in the long-run.
Chris Davis is one of the premier power hitters in baseball at the age of 28, but by the time he’s eligible to be a free agent in 2016, he’ll be 30 years old, and will almost certainly command a massive contract.
If Davis, a Scott Boras client, wants a contract similar to the one that the Detroit Tigers just signed Miguel Cabrera to (10 years for $300 million), the Baltimore Orioles should just let him go. Somebody will end up paying Davis that kind of money, there’s no question about it. However, it shouldn’t be the Orioles. Let some other front office make that mistake.
For argument’s sake, let’s say that Davis’ contract ends up being identical to Cabrera’s, and he’s making about $30 million a year for the next decade. It may be worth it to pay Davis $30 million a year for the first three or four years of his contract. But at 38, 39 and 40 years old, is he really going to be worth $30 million per year? I doubt it.
If Baltimore can sign him to a shorter contract for the same amount of money per year, they should jump on it. Signing Davis to a four-year contract worth $120 million is completely different than signing him for a decade.
I’m not arguing that Davis isn’t worth $30 million per year right now, I’m just arguing that he won’t be worth anywhere near $30 million eight years from now. By signing Davis to a 10-year deal worth $300 million, what the Orioles would essentially be doing is sacrificing the financial future of the ball club for the present, and that’s not a good business strategy.