In Modern Day Major League Baseball, Money Doesn’t Talk
Baseball amasses a stupid amount of money. It seems every day, an expensive long-term deal is prepared for a deserving player, yet it never amounts to what is initially thought. Examples are everywhere throughout the league. The money seems to get to the player’s head and they’re not the same as they once were.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor was handed a ten-year, $341 million deal with the New York Mets before the 2021 season. Up until then, he was having a solid career with the Cleveland Indians slashing .285/.346/.488 as well as 138 home runs.
Now during his first year as a Met, he’s very weakly hitting .217/.311/.359 with only nine home runs and 27 runs batted in. He’s also only 27 years old, so there is definitely room for improvement, but he hasn’t fulfilled his contract to the fullest whatsoever.
Betts was a key piece to great Boston teams in the late 2010s which includes winning it all in 2018. He took home MVP that year and seemed like one of the top players in all of baseball. He played as his life depended on it.
In 2020, he signed a 12 year, $365 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. And guess what? He did deliver in the COVID-19 shortened season. He finished runner-up in MVP voting and led LA to their first championship in over 30 years.
His 2021 season, however, is looking like a real disappointment. His slash line sits at .248/.361/.456. He is getting on base but his power numbers have dropped and he isn’t the hitter he was in the previous season. Again, there is room for improvement and change.
Above are two current examples of big contract curses but another one that strikes the core is Matt Kemp. He signed an 8-year, $160 million extension, after a near MVP season in 2011 with Los Angeles. In the following seasons, Kemp proved to be practically made of glass and seemed to be practically injured every week. He left the Dodgers in 2015 and was never the same player.
The moral of the story is to be careful with these talented players. Putting all that money into their hands is asking a lot. Expectations are higher, resulting a lot in added pressure and underperformance.
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