Here are the specifics of the deal, via Fox Sports:
Choo's deal calls for salaries of $14 million in 2014 and 2015, $21 million in 2016 and 2017, and $20 million in each of the last three years of the deal. He can earn a bonus for finishing in the top five of the AL MVP balloting -- from $250,000 as the winner to $50,000 for fifth place. He would get a $150,000 bonus for being a World Series MVP, and an additional $100,000 for being an AL championship series MVP or an All-Star, or for winning a Silver Slugger or Gold Glove award. There will also be a limited no-trade clause, with Choo able each year to submit a list of 10 teams he can't be dealt to without his consent.
Well, so much for claims (admittedly, from the Yahoo! Contributor Network, a.k.a. the site Bleacher Report mocks) that "If the Diamondbacks offered him something in the range of $9-12 million annually over three years, they'll be in the running." Ooh, missed it by that much. Only off by $100 million or so! Back in reality, it's conceivable the D-backs could have been able to afford something similarly structured. Without Trumbo, our current payroll sits at about $95 million, so the first couple of years would have fitted in under the $112 million total mentioned by Towers, and beyond that, there'll be a new local television deal, which would likely have been able to fund the balance.
However, just because you can give $130 million to a man who'll be 38 when the contract ends, doesn't mean you should give $130 million to a man who'll be 38 when the contract ends. We went over the basic reasons a little while back, when it came out we had made a push for Carlos Beltran, and the second half of the Rangers deal will venture into similarly dubious territory. As an aside, it's always struck me as odd that the last years of deals like this, are almost always close to the best-paid, even though there's every reason to expect them to be the least productive. Choo being worth $14 million at age 31 is possible. $20 million at 38? Not so much.
Admittedly, the financial landscape will likely have changed a lot between now and then. Like the Diamondbacks, the Rangers' television contract expires after next year, but they've already inked a new one with Fox Sports Southwest. It's hard to compare numbers, because the previous deal covered both local baseball and hockey teams, but however you do the math, the new one seems to be a lot higher, at around $80 million per year. In that light, what's a few million here or there, to an over-the-hill outfielder? Or, indeed, first-baseman, since Choo will be joining Prince Fielder, who is somewhat younger, but also signed to the Rangers through 2020.
Certainly, if you compare Choo at $18.6 million AAV, versus Mark Trumbo at a lower price and shorter contract, but into whose cost should also be factored in Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs, it's an interesting comparison. However, it should also be noted that Texas will lose their 2014 first-round draft pick too, the Reds picking up a supplemental selection because they made Choo a qualifying offer earlier this winter. Also, I note reports that Choo apparently turned down a more lucrative seven-year offer for $140 million from the Yankees, countering with a $153 million request. Any time Scott Boras's greed ends up costing him and his client money, is fine by me.
So, the question for today is: would you rather the Diamondbacks had picked up Choo, say, on the same terms as the Rangers just did? Or are you happier with the Trumbo deal actually brokered by management? Discuss...