The main peril of the long-term contract is evidenced by the deal Giambi got from the Yanks. & years and a bucketful of money made Jason an immovable object the last couple of years of his contract and essentially made the Yankees try and extract a return from their massive investment.
7-Year worth 120M- + he receives a 17M Signing bonus that is paid 3M in 2002, 4M in '03 and '04, 4.5M in '05, 1M in '06 and 0.5M in '07- he will make in 2002-8M, in 2003-9M, in 2004- 10M, in 2005- 11M, i 2006- 18M and in 2007 and 08- 21M and in 2009- Team Option 22M or 5M buyout
Of the $103mm not part of the signing bonus, Jason received $65mm in the last 3 years of the contract and just $38mm in the 1st 4 years. This makes NO sense. Every free agent signs a contract based on their past performance; the scary part of a free agent signing for a team, however, is can the player maintain that level of performance until the end of the contract. As the answer to that question is pretty much always NO, why in the world do teams always pay these players more in the tail end of the contract, when their numbers and skills are declining?
A smarter move would be to front-load the contracts so that their pay is more representative of their performance as they age.
If you take Giambi's contract and turn it around, he would have been making $9mm in '07, and $8mm in '08; $17 mm total instead of $42mm. Not only is it a lot easier to bench a player making $8 or $9 million, but it's a lot easier to trade them if the team should choose.
Let's take the pending Texiera deal. Boris is asking for 10 years and $200mm; a more reasonable ending point will be something like 8 years $160mm. Let's assume a $17mm signing bonus comes off the top, so the Yanks would have $143mm to pay over 8 years ($17.875mm/yr average). I propose a schedule of - 2009 - $25mm, 2010 - $25mm, 2011 - $20mm, 2012 - $17mm, 2013 - $15mm, 2014 - $15mm, 2015 - $13mm, 2016 - $13mm.
Assuming some drop in Tex's numbers, in 8 years a still productive player making $13mm should be pretty easy to move if the Yanks should want. In addition, we would be paying the most money for the most productive years. This also serves to insure that we are not paying a bunch of old players ridiculous sums of money for playing out the string of their huge deals thereby leaving room to sign younger, more productive players as the older players' production drops.
I can't imagine that the agents or the Player's Assoc would have any issue with this as the player makes out better by getting more money earlier. It also helps the team as I evidenced above. Hopefully Hal will see this and structure Tex', CC's and AJ's contract in this fashion.