In the major leagues, the 23rd ‘ultra-long contract’ of more than 10 years was born.
Local media reported that the Boston Red Sox agreed to an 11-year, $331 million contract with third baseman Rafael Devers on the 5th (Korean time). Devers, who signed this year’s contract for $17.5 million the day before, signed an 11-year extension in one day, allowing him to wear a Boston uniform until 2034. Born in October 1996, Devers will have nothing to worry about until he is 38 years old, just focus on baseball. It is, in effect, a lifelong contract.
Recently, in the major leagues, 10-year contracts are not uncommon. In this free agency market, three players have successfully signed contracts for more than 10 years. Trey Turner signed a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies for 11 years and $300 million, and Xander Bogarts also wore a San Diego Padres uniform for $280 million with an 11-year guarantee. In addition, after Carlos Correa agreed to a 12-year, $315 million contract with the New York Mets last month, the terms are being revised due to medical issues, but the contract is expected to last for more than 10 years. So, Devers’ contract is the fourth super-long contract that came out this offseason. What is noteworthy is that all four players are shortstops or third basemen who have a lot of stamina.
There are a total of 23 long-term contracts of 10 years or more in major league history, including Devers. Regarding ultra-long-term contracts, positive and skepticism always coexist. What is clear is that both the club and the player choose the contract based on their needs. It’s business.
ESPN analyzed the reasons why ultra-long contracts have become more frequent through an article titled ‘How did huge contracts over 10 years become commonplace’ last month. I heard 3 reasons.
First of all, from the club’s point of view, there is an advantage in that it is possible to distribute the financial burden along with the stability of power by holding a special star for a long time. It is said that the size of the average annual salary can be reduced by extending the contract period due to the luxury tax problem.
The second is that the age at which players acquire free agency is getting younger. The number of players who debuted in their early 20s and filled six full-time seasons before the age of 30 has increased dramatically. Even if you sign a contract for more than 10 years, you are not 40 years old. In the last three years, there were 581 free agents under the age of 30, compared to 182 in 2012-2014.
Finally, the influence of Mets owner Steve Cohen, the richest man in the major leagues, can be cited. The Mets spent $861.7 million across nine players in this free agent market. Owners who were stimulated by Cohen’s outrage are opening their wallets. This is the so-called “Cohen effect”.
Regarding the second of the three reasons, ‘age’, what is the possibility of an ultra-long-term contract for Lee Jung-hoo, who will knock on the major leagues at the end of this year? The protagonist of the longest contract ever from the KBO is Ryu Hyun-jin, who signed a six-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 2012. At that time, Ryu Hyun-jin was 25 years and 9 months old. Pitchers who are more sensitive to injuries inevitably have a shorter contract period than fielders, which means that the durability of Ryu Hyun-jin, evaluated by the Dodgers at the time, was good. 스포츠토토
Lee Jung-hoo was born in August 1998, so if the contract is signed in December this year, he will succeed in entering the big league at the age of 25 years and 4 months. Major league scouts are also giving high marks to Lee’s age. If he signs a 4-year contract, he will become a free agent again after spending 26-29 years. He is still in his 20s. Even if he signed a 10-year contract, the contract expires at the age of 35. He is still at an age where he can enjoy his prime.
However, there is a positive analysis not only of Lee Jung-hoo’s skills but also of his durability. CBS Sports said, ‘If Lee Jung-hoo signs a contract for a total of $100 million, a transfer fee of $16,775,000 will occur. He said, “Considering the age of turning 25 in August this year and the skill of a great position, he will receive an intensive love call from the market later this year.”
It’s a simple prediction, but he should receive an annual average of $10 million over 10 years for a total of $100 million. Of course, a 10-year contract is unreasonable for an Asian player who needs verification. The length of his contract depends on how Lee Jung-hoo is evaluated and how many clubs jump in before signing him.
The longest contract ever signed by an Asian player was eight years, signed by Kenta Maeda with the Dodgers in January 2016.