Pinstripe Mike made a comment in regards to Mark Texiera and 5+ year contracts should be avoided. It got me thinking - What elements make up a bad long term FA deal? Specifically,what warning signs should the Yankees look for when signing a big name FA? Baseball Analysts did a great piece in 2006 looking back at all the long term deals of significance. I want to focus on two pieces of the article in particular. First;
Hitters have historically been a better investment than their counterparts on the mound for teams looking to spend big money in free agency. There's not much risk in signing an under-30 superstar hitter to a long-term deal.
Good news for those Texiera fans, bad news for those Burnett and Sabathia fans. The basic point though is an important one - under 30 positional stars have been worth what the get. Now the second part I want to focus on, the bad deals. I only want to focus on positional players;
David Segui, Todd Hundley, Edgardo Alfonzo, Charles Johnson, Edgar Renteria, Roger Cedeno, David Bell, Kaz Matsui.
You can add to this list Gary Mathews Jr, JD Drew, Adrian Beltre, Richie Sexson and Juan Pierre. So let's assume 30 is the magic age for long term deals for positional players and anyone over 30 is a bad investment. How about the players under 30, what went wrong with these players? I think they fall into three categories; one skill players, steroid users or coming off career years.
The One-Trick Ponies
Theses players don't seem to age well. Juan Pierre, Roger Cedeno, and Richie Sexson fall into this category. That should make the Yankee hesitant about an Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell.
Teams have nobody to blame but themselves for these signings. Gary Mathews Jr, Adrian Beltre, Edgar Reteria ( a year before his walk year!) and Charles Johnson are a couple of the flukies.
Juicers don't seem to age well, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens excluded. David Segui, Egardo Alfonso, Todd Hundley and even Jason Giambi are prime examples of this. It seems that players who need to juice to become stars break down but those who use it after establishing themselves can prolong their careers.
So who is out there to avoid and would want a long term deal? Milton Bradley (over 30 and a flukie), Pat Burrell(over 30 and a one-trick pony), Adam Dunn(one-trick pony) and Manny Ramirez(way over 30) all would require long term deals and should avoided.
But what about Texieria? He is under 30(28), does not appear to be a juicer(always has had power), has a well rounded game, and has a consistent track record of performance. He is by far the safest bet on the free agent market and the more you examine it the more it makes sense.
The Yankees have said they are going to try and add 2 pitchers to their pitching staff and postional players are secondary. I agree that the Yankees should add a pitcher or two but they might be missing out on the surest bet in the FA class in Mark Texiera. Cashman and gang need to realize this and move Tex to the top of the FA to do list.