Quite a few are out there are having some fun considering the Pirates as the 'mystery team' involved in the Manny Machado talks. Few see it as a real possibility as it would be completely out of character for the franchise. But then again, the Pirates traded for Chris Archer last season that also seemed a bit out of character for them.
Before continuing, lets just state clearly this is just for fun, no way do I think the Pirates would do something like this.
The first hurdle to over come is why would Manny (or any higher profile free agent) consider the Pirates who have a fairly recent history of losing? Answer is pretty clear to me, The team is on the edge of going from a maybe wild card team to a possible division winner. A player like Manny could put them there.
The second road block is money. As fans not seeing the books but eyeballing what they've done... they could very well have it at least in the short term.
Here is the beginnings of a contract I feel Manny's team would strongly consider.
|29||4||35m||2m||player opt out if loosing records two of the previous 3 years|
|31||6||31m||2m||vesting option if games played is 60% of games played the previous 3 seasons|
|32||7||28m||2m||player opt out if loosing records 2 of the previous 3 years|
|34||9||22m||5m||vesting option if games played is 60% of games played the previous 3 seasons|
|35||10||20m||5m||team option 5m buy out|
|36||11||20m||2.5m||team option 5m buy out|
|37||12||20m||0m||team option 2m buy out|
|Total||12y/357m | 9y/297m||25.5m||12m in buy outs plus deferred payments 10y/27.5m|
This would give 309m Guaranteed at 9 years. With 2 player options after season 3 and 6 if the team is doing poorly. Team protection (beyond normal insurance) if a he misses more than a year of playing time in a specified time frame. Team options at a what i assume to be a fairly cheap rate in 10 years if he is still at least an average player.. If all options are picked up 357m.
Incentives to include something easy to max out for a 6 fWAR type player that he has shown he can be but still mostly attainable for an off year. With 25.5m in incentives that he would probably get most of. This brings the potential to 382.5m
On top of that add on 10 years of 'deferred payments' (ala Bobby Bo) at 2.75M (27.5M total) Paid for by the Pirates regardless of which team he finishes the contract with.
Bringing the total potential to 410m over 12 years and an guarantee of 336.5m which would mean an average of about 37.4m a year if he plays 9 years.
Add a no trade to 1/3rd of teams of his choosing for the first four seasons. Next three 2/3rd pf teams and the final two a full no trade. Option years no, no trade.
He gets paid now being front loaded and gets paid after the contract is up for quite a few years for more money than what was projected early in the offseason.
Is he worth it? As the player by himself I don't think so... but I also think that push could put them over the hump to actual play off team instead of a wild card hunter for '19, '20 and probably '21. It would also show players and agents that the team is serious and make them more willing to consider the Pirates. It would also show us fans the same. All that together could make the contract worth it. Maybe even help with the upcoming TV deal.
Given that, I would also consider adding two or three more option years to the deal taking him to age 40, but also at reduced rates of 15m/10m/10m with cheap buy outs if it would make a difference in signing.
The nice part about it being front loaded is that, for now we are fairly sure the team can pull off the salary.. but after the next CBA they may not have the 'financial flexibility' if rookie contracts get re-worked as they probably should.
If the team decided to spend the money, I wonder if he would go for it?