A couple of weeks ago I wrote here about the odd contract Odalis Perez signed with the Washington Nationals. The deal, non-guaranteed, would pay Perez just $850,000 if he ended up making the team. My major points of contention were that a) Perez has been eerily consistent over the last four seasons, putting up win values of +1.6, +1.4, +1.5, and +1.5 and b) Perez projected to be worth right around +1.5 wins again in 2009, a fair market value of around $6.5 mil. It also made little sense that Tim Redding, essentially the same age yet much less productive in the recent past, would garner a guaranteed deal worth three times the money.
Well, apparenty Odalis reads Fangraphs and agrees with my assessment because he is now in the process of holding out for a better deal. Okay, he probably has no idea about this site, but the timing sure seems like he does. Perez stated that the more he thought about the contract, the more it bothered him. He wants his work last season to be appreciated and feels he deserves a guaranteed spot in the rotation with at least a bit more money. Honestly, I can’t blame him.
However, I can blame him for reaching his epiphany at this juncture. If someone offers me a contract, I’m going to carefully think over my options as well as the terms and then make a decision. This situation has the feel to it that Odalis signed the first deal thrown his way after experiencing the harsh market and then realized after the fact he was taken advantage of. The situation also seems similar to a prima-donna actor who feels a part should be given to him without auditioning because he has delivered solid performances in past films. Perhaps the actor, and Perez, should receive guarantees sans auditions, but these are contractual terms to be negotiated before signing, not afterwards.
If Perez does have a deal considered binding by the MLB and the Players Association, the right thing to do would be to honor the deal and report to camp. What makes little sense here is that Perez has no offers from opposing teams, and the best deal he could conjure up involved a non-guaranteed $850K from the equivalent of a Quad-A team. What does he expect is going to happen? That he’ll captain the Dominican team to the WBC Championship and the Yankees will offer him a 2-yr/$8 mil guaranteed deal? This simply is not likely to occur. If Odalis Perez wants to play baseball this year he should honor the contract he signed. It may be a lowballing deal and he may be worth more, but he should have thought about these things prior to signing.
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