A Princely Sum
I’m not going to lie to you, not winning the Darvish sweepstakes really stung. Twittersphere, consider yourself unfollowed! I'm going back to the carrier pigeon. Rather than mope about this loss, and feel sorry for ourselves, I say we -the Jays- go out an buy a new pair of shoes. Perhaps the ones being worn by Prince Fielder.
When early rumours of the Jays’ interest in Fielder surfaced, my first instinct was to be excited. Upon further review, I don’t think I have a single electron left in its ground state. We need Prince Fielder, we just need to make his contract work.
Why we need him:
On an annual basis, the Yankees’ rotation looks like Michael Jackson’s Thriller video with CC Sabathia dancing ably in front of a scrap heap of mostly dead arms. It’s their offence that drives them to the postseason each year. Adding Fielder to the Jays lineup would generate the perfect platoon Lind (career OPS vs. RHP 0.842) and Encarnacion (OPS vs. LHP 0.847). This would create a frightening middle of the order with Bautista, Fielder, Lawrie (hello eggs, you haven’t hatched yet, but I’ll assume there are chickens in there somewhere) and LindNacion. Combined with the useful bats of a slick fielding double play combination in Escobar and Johnson, the lineup would be filled out with Snider, Rasmus and Arencibia. They’re not the most polished bats in the MLB, but a bottom third of the order with that kind of power would always represent a threat to score, offering opposing pitchers no breathers.
An offence with this kind of ability to score would go a long way to making up for the shortcomings of our current MLB arms not named Ricky, and the inevitable developmental hiccups of the Alvarerz, Drabeks, McGuires and Hutchisons of the system.
Why he needs us:
On an annual basis, The Bell SkyCentre offers up one of the best combinations of batting sightlines, short porches, fast infield turf, smallish foul territory, and climate controlled jet streams leading to some inflated numbers. The Rogers’ Dome, combined with a proven offensive beast about to hit his peak years, should produce some frightening results. Combine the great the numbers with the media attention that he’ll get during his games with the Yankees and Red Sox, and his legacy would be firmly established to the benefit of future considerations such as his next contract, Hall of Fame balloting, and fast food endorsements.
How do we make it work?
The organizational philosophy of the Jays prevents them from offering contracts larger than five years, and it’s understandable that they’d have concern that Fielder’s body type might not hold up well as he ages. Prince has seen what Pujols and Reyes got and is probably looking for more than five years. Can this conundrum not be solved with some sort of contract loaded with lots of cash at the front, and options at the end?
Let’s take the Pujols’ ball park of $250 million over 10 years. Pujols has been the dominant hitter in baseball over the last decade but with his age approaching end of prime –or depending on who you ask, senior citizenship- then it’s reasonable that Fielder might think he’s worth a similar amount. Let’s work with 10 years and $200 million as our guidelines. They’re round numbers that would probably satiate the egos of most players and agents. What if the Jays were to front-load a contract with five consecutive seasons of $30 million, followed by five more consecutive player options for $10 million. This would represent the 10 year, $200 million contract that would make Scott Boras’ mother proud, while giving Fielder a ton of cash, security and flexibility. This contract would make Fielder the highest paid player in baseball next year, and one of the highest over the following four years. The first five years would earn him $150 million over his age 28-32 seasons. After this point he would have the option of coming back to the Jays for $10 million. If he’s produced anywhere near his career averages, Fielder would most certainly look for a new contract thus satisfying the Jays’ five year limit. If he regresses significantly, he might be inclined to stay with the Jays and take the $10 million per season. Not ideal, but certainly unlikely to be an albatross that the Jays couldn’t swallow, or unload on a team with some money to burn and a hunch that some stem cells might cure what’s been ailing our Prince.
While these don’t have to be the exact numbers, it seems like a contract such as this one would help the Jays acquire a young, fearsome, middle of the order bat for five years without likely breaking their five year rule of thumb. Fielder would become one of the highest paid players in baseball, while piling up offensive numbers and preparing himself for one more massive contract, all the while having the safety blanket of a 10 year deal.
Labels: contract, Jays, Prince Fielder