Okay, so tell me. Make it simple. How do you fit Albert Pujols onto a MLB payroll that stays under $150M each year? Yup, it’s simple. We’ll assume these things below can all happen, sure there are lots of unknown variables; it might not work quite this way, I get that.
First off, I hope y’all read my previous post about how much I want Erick Aybar as our SF Giants lead-off hitter. If you haven’t? Please do so before you read this post, otherwise, these contents won’t make much sense to you. I swear.
I don’t mean to sound arrogant here, but I feel as though I just invented electricity. Yeah, seriously. Or maybe, on a more realistic comparison, sliced bread. Or Tang. Yeah, Tang- that’s it. It’s orange. It’s delicious. It’s nutritious. That’s how I feel right now... Like I just invented Tang. Why?
I think I figured out a way to not only get Albert Pujols signed here in San Francisco, but to maintain a budget under $150M annually for at least 5 years. And a way that I believe he would accept the offer- no matter how many bidders we are competing against. Did I mention that I believe WE can actually set the terms? Not Pujols. Nor his agent, Dan Lozano. Sure, call me presumptuous, but first please hear me out.
But how do you sign Pujols as a Giant? Talk truths:
- We are in the weakest division, he'd no longer face 5 other teams to get to the playoffs.
- LA is bankrupt and likely will be rebuilding.
- San Diego can’t carry payroll and is rebuilding.
- Arizona is hot this year, but will likely not be able to afford a sustained run.
- Colorado is struggling beyond any expectations.
- We have elite pitching.
- We can honestly make the playoffs each year.
- How would you like our chances with this team? Against anybody. Everybody.
- You will set a new record for a one-year player salary at $40-million on a front-loaded contract.
- You will receive $76-million total in the first two years. $104-million total in the first three years. This will also help the Giants remain agile, as other players’ salaries rise.
- Large payroll obligations will come off the books each year through 2015, to ensure a consistently top-notch team each and every year- without fear of budget constraints.
- Yes, I am serious, and no, I will not share the "Tang" I’m drinking with you.
Here’s how it works. We make sure to get Erick Aybar and Vernon Wells from Anaheim for Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez, and a b-prospect or two or three. Anaheim adds $20-million to offset the $17M payroll difference, and to compensate for J. Sanchez (as a quality lefty starter being of higher value in the trade).
This $20M helps to immediately offset Rowand’s 2012 salary and Pujols’ $40M first year of his $185M, 7-year contract ($40M, $36M, $28M, $24M, $21M, $19M, $17M). We still have many young players well below market values: Aybar, Bumgarner, Romo, Posey, Sandoval, Belt, Pill, Crawford, and H. Sanchez most specifically.
So, we want to alleviate future payroll as it will undoubtedly rise, as player salaries reach towards their market values. One major objective is to constantly remain well below the Luxury Tax line (about $175M, I think). Actually, it will be simple to maintain a $145M payroll each year. Sure, we have new players (like Gary Brown, Joe Panik, Otero, Hembree, and others) getting called up. But, even six new league minimum contracts can’t offset even ONE jump in salary from $2M to $8M. Not to mention four or five salaries that stagger up in the same time period.
So, front-loading? We pay Pujols a significant portion of his contract the first year ($40M). We can ensure we remain at $145-million for a long time-horizon. Remember, Zito's salary ($46M) is exchanged for Wells’ salary ($61M). Freddy Sanchez, Rowand and Huff are off book after 2012 ($29.6M). Vogelsong and Wilson (who likely will fetch $12.5-15M per year in 2014) can be off book after 2013 (about $14M). Vernon Wells is off book after 2014 ($21M).
Clearing this salary each year helps replenish the salaries of other players without adding payroll. And Pujols’ salary will decline significantly each year to help further. Essentially, you pay against future money coming off and allow consistent payroll balance.
SS Erick Aybar
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Albert Pujols
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
LF Vernon Wells
RF Brandon Belt
CF Coco Crisp
You can check out the numbers yourself. Just my humble projections. I ain't saying I'm a soothsayer. Some estimates will surely be off a bit. Your opinions of which prospect players make the roster may vary.
Image credit: Pujols image from mikespickz.com