“Seven years for a pitcher is a lifetime. It’s just scary, and any general manager who tells you it isn’t, well, I’m not sure what calculations they are going by.”
— Kevin Malone, former Dodgers general manager who signed Kevin Brown to a seven-year, $105 million contract in 1999.
That quote comes in the course of an article in today’s New York Times looking back at the history of long deals for pitchers. It’s not a good history. At least Kevin Brown gave L.A. some decent, albeit sporadic production for five of those years. Add to the list Mike Hampton and Wayne Garland. Haven’t heard of Garland? Exactly.
CC Sabathia is the only pitcher mentioned among those seven-year+ deals who strikes me as someone who will ultimately have been worth it. But then again, he’s a beast of a man with no injury history and an uncomplicated delivery who relies on power more than a fine touch. Oh, and he was much younger when he signed his deal. Someone like that, sure, maybe it’s worth it.
Cliff Lee for seven years? Yikes.