The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies are organizations built for sustained, long-term winning. Both teams demonstrate the art of success via the long-term contract. Not just signing big names, but wrapping up big names and young talent for years.
Examine closely the two teams left in October and you will notice that neither have “the one that got away.” We’ll start with the Phillies. Ryan Howard won $15 million in arbitration over the off-season, Chase Utley is under contract for over $11 million until 2013 and Jimmy Rollins makes 8 million until at least 2010 with a club option for 2011. Not a bad 3-4-5 to build around through at least 2011.
Only the New York Yankees would have signed Jorge Posada to a four-year, $52 million contract at age 35 or Mariano Rivera to a three-year, $45 million contract at age 38. But they did and both players have been huge in October for the Yanks. And, don’t forget that Derek Jeter just hit his 20th post season home run, why? Because in 2001, he signed a 10-year deal for an average of $18.9 million per season.
For the other side of the coin, look to the 2003 Marlins: Derek Lee, Juan Pierre, Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, Luis Castillo and so on, all left after the team won the World Series. The Marlins haven’t made the playoffs since. Their ‘03 World Series opponents the New York Yankees have only missed October once since losing to Florida.
The fallback to long-term contracts, well, we’ll call that the Carl Pavano effect. Before, say, hitting a home run with Teixeira and Sabathia, the Yankees had a slew of long term deals that were more like pop outs. Pavano signed a 4-year contract worth almost $40 million in 2004, and by the end of his contract in ’08 had pitched only 17 times. Of course, MLB contracts are guaranteed, so Pavano could have never pitched and still earned his $40 million. Pavano wasn’t the only pop out, by the time Jason Giambi’s monster 7-year, $119 million and by the seventh year, Giambi was 37-years old, hitting .247.
The Minnesota Twins in 2009 found a way to make the playoffs despite a pay roll of around $67 million. But, the Twins are following the Yankees and Phillies theory, minus the big free agent signings. They signed their home-grown talent to big money, then filled in the blanks. Joe Mauer received a four-year, $33 million contract, Justin Morneau signed for six-years, $80 million and closer Joe Nathan is set through 2012 for around $12 million.
Teams with the ability to sign their top stars to long-term contracts remain at the top year after year. Don’t be surprised to see Yankees vs. Phillies in the 2010 World Series. Take a look at the long-term, big-money contracts on the Yankees and Phillies for players who will be with the team beyond 2010:
- Cole Hamels – Signed contract extension through 2011 for $20.5 million
- Ryan Madson – Signed 3-year $12 million contract to avoid arbitration
- Ryan Howard – Signed 3-year, $54 million after arbitration last off-season
- Chase Utley – Signed 7-year, $85 million in 2007
- Jimmy Rollins – Signed 5-year, $40 million in 2005
- Brad Lidge – 3-year, $37.5 million plus club option for 2012
- Raul Ibanez – Signed 3-year, $31.5 million before 2009 season
- Cliff Lee – Signed 4-year, $15 million with club option for 2010
- Jason Werth – Signed 2-year, $10 million before 2009 season
New York Yankees
- Derek Jeter – Signed 10-year, $189 million in 2001
- Mariano Rivera – Signed 3-year, $45 million before 2008 season
- Jorge Posada – Signed 4-year, $52.4 million before 2008 season
- Robinson Cano – Signed 4-year, $30 million with club options through 2013 in ‘08
- Alex Rodriguez – Signed 10-year, $275 million before 2008 season
- C.C. Sabathia – Signed 7-years, $161 million before 2009 season
- Mark Teixeira – Signed 8-year, $180 million before 2009 season
- A.J. Burnett – Signed 5-year, $82.5 million before 2009 season
- Nick Swisher – Signed 5-year, $26.75 million plus club option in 2012
- Damaso Marte – Signed 3-year, $12 million with club option for 2012
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Matthew Coller is staff member of the Business of Sports Network and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter
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