SBD/Issue 165/Franchises

Braun's Contract Latest In Trend Of Deals For Young MLB Stars

Braun Signs Largest Contract In Brewers' History
The Brewers Thursday signed LF Ryan Braun to a seven-year, $45M contract extension that is the "longest in term and biggest in money in club history," according to Tom Haudricourt of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The deal also is an "industry record" for a player with less than a full year in MLB and surpasses the seven-year, $31M deal the Rockies earlier this season gave SS Troy Tulowitzki. Nez Balelo, Braun's agent, said of signing the deal at this point in Braun's career as opposed to waiting a few seasons, "Would he make more money, year to year? No question about it. But you can't walk away from security, with where he's at right now" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/16). In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt writes Braun remains with the team "under reasonable terms," and "whether his contract has the desired ripple effect on the other young stars, the smart bet is on those not represented" by agent Scott Boras. The Brewers have been unable to agree to a long-term deal with 1B Prince Fielder, a Boras client (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/16). 

Marlins To Formally Announce Six-Year,
$70M Contract Extension Over Weekend
NEW BUSINESS: The Marlins Saturday plan to formally announce their six-year, $70M contract extension with SS Hanley Ramirez, and in Miami, Mike Phillips writes more MLB teams are "signing younger players to multiyear deals now than ever before." The approach "could save franchises millions while reshaping baseball's way of doing business." In addition to the deals Braun and Tulowitzki signed, the D'Backs in April signed CF Chris Young to a five-year, $28M contract and the Rays in April signed 3B Evan Longoria -- who at the time had played just six MLB games -- to a six-year, $17.5M deal. MLB players have "no rights during their first three seasons, before they are eligible for arbitration," which allows clubs to "pay potential superstars around the league minimum ($390,000) for the first three seasons." But Phillips notes if the players "emerge as superstars, teams actually can save money because they can avoid the big jump in salary that comes with free agency." Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio: "There have been a number of young players now who are getting signed, and I think what you see is there is a real economic incentive on both sides to do something." Indians Exec VP & GM Mark Shapiro said, "I think you are going to keep seeing more of these kind of deals more frequently" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/16). ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian said of MLB teams locking up their young talent with long-term contracts: “I think it makes an awful lot of sense for the teams to do this” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/15).

ECONOMIC IMPACT: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at the MLB Owners meetings Thursday said of the new trend of contracts for young players, "We talked a lot about that. It certainly depends on the player, but I'm sure teams will continue to seek out (these kinds of deals). It's certainly a function, in some ways, of our current economic situation" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Meanwhile, Fox' Ken Rosenthal said that Braun's deal was an "indication that revenue sharing in baseball is having an effect." Rosenthal: "If not for revenue sharing, the Brewers probably wouldn't have been able to lock up [Braun]. It's good for the game" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/16).

NOT DEALING WITH THE DEVIL: The Rays Wednesday signed P Scott Kazmir to a three-year, $28.5M extension, and in St. Petersburg, Gary Shelton wrote it was a "terrific signing for the Rays." For a team that "isn't exactly swimming in payroll, they keep investing in their own products." The deal is "one more piece of evidence that this front office has a plan." The Rays are "certain enough of their blueprint, confident enough in their evaluations and committed enough to spend the money" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/15).

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