Friday, May 2, 2008

Youth & Contracts: Should Markakis and Jones Get Their Big Deals Now?

The erstwhile Ian of Sox and Dawgs sent me this little piece that was featured on the website the other day on both Nick Marakakis and Adam Jones from featured writer, Paul Heyman that was featured on Buster Olney's blog.

From CNNsi: "Most major-league teams are working to sign their best young players to multi-year deals. But right now, the Orioles' internal philosophy is to wait for at least three years before discussing a multi-year deal with the likes of Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.

Surprising, isn't it? If the Orioles eschew long-term deals, their best players will be much more expensive when the team is ready to compete. Markakis, their star player, will be up for arbitration after this season. Maybe he won't get the $10MM Ryan Howard did, but $7MM seems reasonable. There were already rumblings that Markakis was angered by this year's $55K raise."
I think Adam Jones has plenty of time on his side to earn a contract, so I'll omit him from the conversation; however, I would be more concerned about Markakis.

The Baltimore Orioles have three years left before Nick Markakis can get a free agent pay day, and lest we forget, the team is under no obligation to pay him more than what the CBA dictates.

Buster Olney adds this:
This is something that the Yankees and Red Sox do, generally. But while the Orioles are reducing the risk of a bad deal, they are increasing the risk of losing core players to free agency. Right now, the Orioles don't have the organizational allure that the Yankees and Red Sox have, so they may have a much tougher time keeping their youngest stars as they near free agency. It's a strategy that is an enormous gamble, as the Orioles attempt to rebuild.
That may be true; however, like I said in the beginning -- the Orioles have 3 years to sign him to a long term deal. Now may Andy be rocking the boat by not giving Nick the deal and security he wants - maybe - alas, he's up for arbitration for the first time in '09, and if he has a year like he did last year, he'll get his money.

In fact, if he keeps improving, his salary will escalate accordingly. I'm sure if Andy signs him to a deal he wants, all will be forgiven and we'll sing "Praise the Lord".

Sure the Orioles are saving money, but giving a player a big deal is always a risky proposition - can anyone say Melvin Mora or Albert Belle?

Not that Nick will be in the situation, but Andy is charting the course of the team's future slowly, and right now there's far more to worry about.

If this were happening in year five, I'd worry - but now, it's no big deal.

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