Many teams are signing their young stars to long-term deals, buying out their arb years, their first years of free agency, and in the recent case of the Reds' Joey Votto, buying out pretty much the rest of his career.
I suggested recently that the Cubs do the same thing with Starlin Castro, who will be eligible for arbitration next offseason (and also, the same with guys like Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson when they are eventually called up). This met with resistance from many of you; some here asked why Castro would do this when he could supposedly get more money by waiting.
Today, the Giants -- not a small-market team -- locked up Madison Bumgarner with a five-year contract extension. Bumgarner has almost the same amount of service time as Castro, and so might have been eligible for Super-Two arb status at the end of this season.
Bumgarner, his agents and the Giants got creative. See how, after the jump.
Bumgarner's contract is structured in such a way that, even though he's signed, gives him more money if he would have wound up in the Super-Two category. ESPN's Buster Olney explains in this series of tweets:
Madison Bumgarner's deal, as negotiated by Giants and SFX, actually has two structures. One is for if he makes Super-Two arbitration status.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 16, 2012
If Bumgarner IS a Super-2 arb eligible, salaries 2013-17 of $3 million, $5.5 m, $7m, $10m, $12m. Gets $1m signing bonus, $1.5m opt. buyout.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 16, 2012
The other Bumgarner structure is if he does't make Super-2 status.If he IS NOT Super-2, salaries '13-'17: $750K, 3.75m, 6.75m, 9.75m, 11.5m— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 16, 2012
I'll save you the math. Bumgarner gets $35 million total if he's not a Super-Two, $40 million if he is. The player gets additional money as if he actually went through the arb process, and the team gets cost certainty for the next five seasons.
This is exactly what the Cubs should do with Starlin Castro. Not necessarily those precise amounts, but the structure of the deal -- and with Castro, you could go even longer than five years, because as a position player he's less likely to be injured than a pitcher is.
Get it done, Theo & Jed.