Dan's Dugout: Don't Give Pitchers long-term Deals • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Don’t Give Pitchers long-term Deals

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KEVINBROWNNew York, NY – Long-term contracts for players are a bad idea. Long-term contracts for pitchers are just plain ludicrous.

The spate of Tommy John surgeries in recent seasons should have taught teams a lesson. But hey, these are baseball owners we’re dealing with here.

Maybe they don’t remember Wayne Garland, who parlayed one 20-win season for the Orioles into a 10-year, $23 million deal with Cleveland early in the free agency epoch. He went 28-48 for the Indians and didn’t throw a pitch in the last five years of his deal.

Mike Hampton, a better hitter than a pitcher, missed more than

Mike Hampton never justified his contract

Mike Hampton never justified his contract

100 starts over the final four years of his eight-year, $121 million contract, offered by the pitching-starved Rockies before they unloaded him in a three-team trade.

Barry Zito, signed for seven seasons and $126 million by the Giants after he starred for the Oakland A’s, never brought his A-game across the bay. Unlike the always-injured Hampton, he never missed a turn — though the Giants wish he had because he pitched so poorly.

Neither Kevin Brown nor CC Sabathia, both of whom wound up with the Yankees, was worth the seven-year contracts both received. Brown, inked by the Dodgers in 1999, was 34 when he signed but Los Angeles did not see that age as a red flag. They should have. In his last five years, only once did he make more than 22 starts.

CC Sabathia is just a shadow of his old self

CC Sabathia is just a shadow of his old self

Sabathia, given $161 million by the Yankees, was fine for his first three seasons but has been sinking like a stone since. Disabled four times, he’s carrying too much weight on his aching knees and has lost velocity off his once-fearsome fastball.

As for the Yankees, some teams never learn. They lavished $155 million in giving Masahiro Tanaka a seven-year deal in 2014. He pitched like Cy Young for the first half of his first season, then went down with elbow issues that might require surgery. He’s hoping rest and a six-man rotation will cure his partially-torn tendon. Matt Harvey of the Mets had the same idea before finally submitting last year.

Other than Sabathia, still trying to salvage his career in the Bronx, and Zito, still hoping to recapture his curveball in Oakland, only one pitcher is currently working on a seven-year contract.

That’s Washington ace Max Scherzer, the seventh pitcher to sign a deal of that length. The former American League Cy Young Award winner left Detroit when the Nationals offered him $210 million, a record for a righthanded pitcher.

Max Scherzer must justify a 7-year deal with Washington

Max Scherzer must justify a 7-year deal with Washington

Off to a strong start in the National League, Scherzer could prove to be the exception to the Seven-Year Itch. But don’t count on it.

Even pitchers with six-year deals rarely pan out, though Mike Mussina (Yankees) was a notable exception to that rule. Although the jury is still out on Jon Lester (Cubs), the verdict is thumbs down for Johan Santana, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, among others.

Even with five-man rotations and 100-pitch limits, pitchers are just too fragile to justify long-term deals. With teams bidding against each other, however, length of contract has become almost as important as the per annum sum. Good for the players but not for their teams.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Juan Uribe hit twice as many home runs for the Braves in his first four games with the team than he did for the Dodgers in the first two months of the season . . .

The White Sox have retired Paul Konerko's No. 14

The White Sox have retired Paul Konerko’s No. 14

Mazel tov to former White Sox star Paul Konerko for having his number retired by the club . . .

Cincinnati manager Bryan Price, whose team lost nine straight earlier this year, could be next on the firing line . . .

Nelson Cruz, in his first year with the Seattle Mariners, has emerged as a Triple Crown contender for the first time in his career . . .

Sixteen pitchers appeared in Sunday’s 17-inning game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks . . .

Josh Hamilton wasted little time in hitting a walk-off home run just

Josh Hamilton wasted little time with Texas before hitting a walkoff HR

Josh Hamilton wasted little time with Texas before hitting a walkoff HR

days after returning to the lineup of the Texas Rangers . . .

James Russell, the lefthanded reliever released by Atlanta, has a 1.66 ERA since rejoining the Cubs . . .

The New York Mets, concerned about David Wright’s lingering back problems, are inquiring about the asking price for Atlanta’s Chris Johnson, a .321 hitter two years ago . . .

Injuries continue to plague the Washington Nationals, now without Stephen Strasburg, Jayson Werth, and Anthony Rendon . . .

Three-time NL Manager of the Year Dusty Baker wants to get back in the dugout . . .

He may be too fat and too old but Bartolo Colon’s pinpoint control is the main reasons the Mets righthander entered June with eight wins.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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