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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, February 24, 2024
Jack Baer

Big MLB contracts are not automatically disastrous

Obvious statement: the Angels regret giving Josh Hamilton $125 million. They paid a king’s ransom for three mediocre, injury-plagued seasons and a whole lot of (semi-deserved) bad press. Pro tip to Arte Moreno: Don’t “Mean Girls” a recovering drug addict while trying to use a contract clause that doesn’t exist to recoup money you freely gave to him knowing the risk associated. You’d think they’d teach that in billionaire class.

But the refrains also came in.

“Big contracts are bad!”

This is a problem unique to baseball and its competent players’ union, where team owners give hundreds of millions of dollars to 30-year-old stars and see a slightly-to-severely disappointing return on their investment. Recent-ish examples include Hamilton, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Albert Pujols, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera in two years, Prince Fielder, Rodriguez’s other contract, Max Scherzer in four years and I’m just going to stop now before I reach the Ervin Santana zone.

This feels frustratingly obvious for fans, screaming into an oblivion while wondering what is going through their owner/president/general manager’s mind as the reports come in from Ken Rosenthal. They don’t know why he’s doing this. And that’s the point.

The slightly buzzed 19-year-old sitting in his dorm room yelling at SportsCenter does not know more than the career executive with full communication with his piggy bank and access to medical records and stats you’ve never even heard of. The idea of that feels as strange and stupid as launching a gazelle to Mars, yet we’ve all done it at one point.

Sure, some contracts are especially mind-boggling, but at some point you have to know that owners are doing this because they want to. Maybe they’re like Tigers owner Mike Ilitch and want to see a title in their lifetime, or maybe they just have f*** you money and want to use it (hi Dodgers!).

Not to mention that revenues are exploding across the board with the advent of the digital age and TV contracts. So calm down, and maybe just enjoy baseball.

And now, something completely different

This is my last column as a Daily Cardinal sports editor.

Working at the Cardinal has been the most rewarding, entertaining and helpful experience of my life. I can’t really go into more detail, because putting what I’ve gotten out of here into words would lead to a bandwidth-crushing column size, and our managing editor tells me I shouldn't do that because pageviews are fun.

I could also spend 394 words ridiculing a rival newspaper while explaining how I’m above the conflict, but there are far better uses of everyone’s time.

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All I have to say is this: This place rocks, and stop by the office if you have even an inkling of an interest in what we do here. Sports, news, science, annoying Jonah Beleckis, anything. My single biggest regret in college was that it took more than three semesters for me to realize 2142 Vilas Hall was where I belonged. Of course, feelings like this probably transcend almost any student activity or organization.

Basically, go do stuff in college. If that happens to be the Cardinal, you won’t regret it.

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