I know Vernon Wells probably wouldn’t go for this, but maybe J.P. Ricciardi should try to renegotiate VW’s contract.
He knows he’s playing horribly (see his reaction to being moved down in the order) that much is public. Here are some assumptions I’m making:
- He must know that his ridiculous contract is going to hurt the team’s ability to compete in the future.
- He must also know that his low level of play, if he keeps it up, will affect his ability to get another good contract after this one.
- Even if he turns his game around, if there aren’t players on the team to get on base in front of him then he’s not going to rack up the RBI necessary to get another monster contract.
- If Halladay (or other players) leave because the team can’t afford them, VW will bear the wrath of fans and media even more so than he already does.
- He, like all players, wants to win.
If I’m J.P., I approach Wells and say something like “this contract is going to be your last big one unless something crazy happens and if it doesn’t, it may possibly be your last contract period.”
Then I’d offer him a four-year extension on the contract he has at, say, $2 million per year. The catch is that I’d change the payment schedule.
The Jays already owe VW $98.5 million over the next five seasons (not including the $8.5M signing bonus due next March) the real problem is that he’ll make over $20M in each of the final four seasons.
I’d add $8M to that total, extend him four years and pay him the average of the value of this new contract every year. Signing bonus payment can stay right where it is.
Sure, this plan means we’d be paying a 40-year-old Vernon almost $12M in 2018, but we’d also only be paying Vernon that amount in 2011, a year in which he’s scheduled to make $23M. That $11M might buy us a nice player (or allow us to keep a certain someone around).