Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Contract Year

In 2006 Vernon Wells of the Toronto Blue Jays hit .303 with 32 Home Runs and 106 Runs Batted In. He also won a Gold Glove Award and was rewarded with a 7 year $126 million contract extension. Since that time Wells has yet to hit more than 20 HR and hasn't cracked the 80 RBI mark.

To me this proves only one thing. Once he got his money he lost all incentive to try.

Now you might expect me to go on a rant about how I think this is terrible behavior and how it is ruining the game but in all honesty I agree with it.

Think about it. If I told you that for the next 7 years I would give you $126 million guaranteed what would you do? Would you quit your job or maybe drop out of school? 99% of people would and that's because once financial security is achieved what incentive is there to try?

I know that if I was promised that kind of money I wouldn't get a job and if I was still in school I would not be going to 3 hour lectures when I could be out buying Lamborghinis. Athletes should be no different.

If you want someone to blame for this attitude of laziness then look no further than the owners and GMs who sign these contracts knowing full well what will happen. It doesn't take someone with a business degree from Stanford to understand that if you give a 26 year old $126 million they are going to lose their motivation.

Most modern athletes come from the lower class. This isn't a stereotype against minorities it is a fact. These kids grow up with no money and are using sports as a way to reach the end goal in life = financial security. They get the big contract and all their problems are gone. Vernon's got his millions why run down fly balls and possibly hurt yourself when you could just jog there?

I am not going to single out just Vernon Wells however as in all sports there are countless guys who have their career year during a contract year. If I was to field a baseball team of just players who in 2009 are in a contract year here would be my starting lineup:

Note: Keep in mind that the stats for this year only cover 60-75 games as the season is only half way over. Also I couldn't find a list of relief pitchers in a contract year so I left that out.

Catcher - Victor Martinez

This Year: .321 14 HR 57 RBI

Last Year: .278 2 HR 35 RBI

1B - Russel Branyan

This Year: .303 19 HR 38 RBI

Last Year: .250 12 HR 20 RBI

2B - Orlando Hudson

This Year: .303 5 HR 41 RBI

Last Year: .305 8 HR 41 RBI

SS - Marco Scutaro

This Year: .286 6 HR 32 RBI

Last Year: .267 7 HR 60 RBI

3B - Chone Figgins

This Year: .319 1 HR 21 RBI

Last Year: .276 1 HR 22 RBI

LF - Carl Crawford

This Year: .316 6 HR 35 RBI

Last Year: .273 8 HR 57 RBI

CF - Andruw Jones

This Year: .239 9 HR 23 RBI

Last Year: .158 3 HR 14 RBI

RF - Honestly couldn't find 1 Right Fielder in a contract year that was playing well or at least better than previous years.

SP - Kevin Millwood

This Year: 8-5 2.64 ERA 70 K 36 Walks 1.22 WHIP

Last Year: 9-10 5.07 ERA 125 K 49 Walks 1.59 WHIP


Despite the fact that I a missing a right fielder that is not a bad team. All of these guys are doing better this year than they did last year. Now that may be due to other reasons besides money but in all likelihood it is the possibility that if they have a bad season they will cost themselves millions of dollars that is motivating them.

It is a sad but true fact that most athletes are just in it for the money.

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1 comment:

Draper004 said...

Your analogy does not make sense. There is a difference between winning the lottery and being given money for nothing, and then getting paid to do a job. Vernon wells didn't quit his job because he was given alot of money. That money was given to him to do his job. So if he is going to be lazy and stop putting up any decent numbers then he is to blame completely.

You are right, if I won the lottery I wouldn't work. that is money given to me for no reason. But on the other hand, if I was doing a job, and my boss says "draper, you're doing a good job, so I will pay you alot of money over the next few years to keep doing that good job", then I am going to keep doing the job that i was getting paid to do. Therefore I don't think your analogy works. Vernon wells, and the other baseball players who stop caring after a large contract signing are bums with no heart and should be blamed for their lack of motivation.