From Meghan Montemurro at The Athletic on November 13, 2018:
Nearly 18 years ago, Doug Melvin changed the landscape in professional sports.
Melvin, then the general manager of the Rangers, signed 25-year-old shortstop Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $252 million contract on Jan. 26, 2001. It smashed baseball’s previous free-agent record signing, set just days earlier by the Rockies and their eight-year, $121 million deal with left-hander Mike Hampton. Rodriguez’s contract became the most expensive ever among U.S. pro athletes, doubling a $126 million deal Kevin Garnett had inked with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1997.
In the years since, nine Major League Baseball players have signed free-agent deals worth at least $180 million. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are expected to join that list this offseason; both will likely sign deals exceeding $300 million. As the hot stove season gets underway, The Athletic interviewed six general managers and one team president who had signed eight of the 10 largest free-agent contracts in MLB history, asking the executives to weigh in on the challenges that accompany such deals. Two common themes, in particular, emerged: ownership’s role in the moves and the ripple effects that stem from bringing in an elite player.
“What goes along with that contract, though, is a lot of expectations about the team winning,” Melvin said. “Winning immediately – but there are no guarantees in baseball.”
Read the full article here (subscription required): https://theathletic.com/646228/2018/11/13/the-art-of-the-big-deal-an-inside-look-from-the-gms-who-signed-the-largest-free-agent-contracts-in-mlb-history/
Originally published: November 13, 2018. Last Updated: November 13, 2018.