Recent contracts around league spell disaster for O’s


Cruz should expect one heck of contract based on recent trends. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

So far this offseason, all the trends seem to be hinting that the Orioles will have to spend some serious cash to hold on to key players such as Nelson Cruz, Andrew Miller, and maybe even Nick Markakis.

Giancarlo Stanton signed an extension with Miami Marlins that will pay him $325 Million over 13 years.

Russell Martin signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for five years and $82 Million.

A.J. Burnett signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for one-year at $8.5 Million.

Michael Cuddyer inked a two-year, $21 Million contract with the New York Mets.

The Chicago White Sox nabbed LHP Zach Duke for three years and $15 Million.

And Victor Martinez re-signed with the Detroit Tigers for four years, at $68 Million.

Honestly, the only bargain I see in there was Martinez, and that’s not how I saw it prior to all of the singings that followed.

Teams are clearly willing to overpay for anything, and, this time, the Yankees and Red Sox are not the ones signing the moronic checks.

If Zach Duke can take in $5 Million a season, Andrew Miller should expect a contract that would allow him to purchase the moon.

Don’t get me wrong, Duke is a solid lefty out of the pen, but that signing is only an indication that Miller is well out of the Orioles’ price range.

When Victor Martinez re-upped with the Tigers, I thought that it would be reasonable for the Orioles to throw similar money at Nelson Cruz. After the Martin contract, however, it appears there will always be a team crazy enough to far outspend the Orioles.

Martin is 31-year-old catcher coming off a mediocre offensive season. Yes, his bat still has some pop. And yes, he is an adequate catcher behind the plate. But at 31, the period in his career where his knees take the life out of his bat is right around the corner.

What this means for Cruz is he should not let his age dictate the contract negotiations. At 34, some argued that a five-year deal was out of the question. But as he is a DH with an outstanding power presence, why not ask for a six-year deal at $90 Million? Who’s to say there isn’t a team out there willing to match that, or heck, even exceed that?

Michael Cuddyer’s contract? He is a solid player with about 25 home runs in him if he plays out a whole season. However, that is unlikely to happen, given that he has played more than 140 games just once since 2010. He is a decent hitting, oft-injured corner outfielder coming off a season where he only saw 49 games. Not only will he be making some serious cash, the Mets also surrendered their 15th overall pick in the 2015 Ameteaur Draft.

What does Markakis think now? Well, given that there have been no signs of life in his contract situation, I would guess he is exploring all options. And why shouldn’t he? He has proven to be durable and efficient at all aspects of the game.

As for the Stanton extension and the Burnett signing, we must look to the future.

Stanton just got the most lucrative deal in baseball history from one of the cheapest team’s in the league. Now, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has proven to be, we’ll say, “sketchy” when it comes to signing large contracts. Just look what he did a few years ago after signing Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell.

Unfortunately, what this contract says for young stars like Manny Machado is that the money is out there. “Hey, if he got that much money from that team, I should be making this much.”

Machado has already made mini-waves in his career about what his pay is, and seems to have a sense of entitlement to financial reward. If he is a long-term player for the Orioles, what will they have to pay to keep him here?

Burnett’s deal is a straight up crazy one. He lost 18 games, and had an ERA of 4.59. He will be 38 at the season’s start. Yet he will make $8.5 Million. What will Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris or Miguel Gonzalez think when it’s their time in free-agency?

As the Orioles have recently been spurned by a long-term, and pricy contract to a risky player (caugh-Ubaldo Jimenez), you can bet these signings scare the living daylights out of Dan Duquette and the rest of the front-office.