Follow the Money—Sports

Why Guys Are Getting Paid Big

Your Weekly $ Pioneer

a-rod-announcement-new-york-yankees-star-alex-rodriguez-ends-his-contractIt was only a matter of time before this guy slugged his way into this category.

Even though he’s only 31 and still at the top of his game, Yankees third baseman Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez is a sports money pioneer. The reason? His 2001 free agent contract with the Texas Rangers that paid him $252 million. A quarter of a million dollars for an (at the time) shortstop with a sweet swing. It doesn’t sound so bad in today’s sports contract climate, except for a few reasons.

1.) It was the Texas freakin’ Rangers. This was a team who, at the time, had zero pitching, zero pieces to put around Rodriguez in the everyday lineup, and some pretty poor structure at the top. Basically, this insane contract was offered to appease the fans who had to be growing tired of watching their team lose for years.

2.) A-Rod only stayed for a few seasons. Sure, he won a couple AL MVP awards, but the Rangers lost a ton of games and committed themselves to paying one player more than most entire rosters. Oh, the things the Florida Marlins could do with a $252 million payroll.

3.) The contract set a dangerous precedent for position players seeking new deals after 2001. $252 million was a big reach for any player at the time, but look how high MLB contracts have risen since that offseason. Now, you have starting pitchers who only play one day a week making $137 million. You’ve got centerfielders (Carlos Beltran) pulling in over $100 million based off of one great season. Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera cashed in just before the start of this past season for $150 million, and he hadn’t played a single regular season game yet. Basically, the A-Rod contract in 2001 changed the landscape of what players could realistically ask for, or at least sped up the trend.

That’s why Alex Rodriguez is this week’s $ Pioneer.


November 18, 2008 - Posted by | Weekly $ Pioneers

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