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The commitments redux, Mets managers and the Gold Gloves

We discussed this information in March 2009, and I thought it was a good time to revisit it, what with free agency upon us and at least three players _ Carl Crawford, Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth _ due for contracts of four or more years.

Looking beyond the next three years, what sort of commitments do clubs have for the 2014 season? Which teams should consequently exhibit the most discipline for this winter's crop?

Here's the list. As you can see in the previous explainer, I'm not including buyouts of team options for 2014, since the idea here is to determine clubs' payroll and roster flexibility. We're going with 2014 because it seems that deals of four years or more cross that imaginary threshold into serious commitment:

Once again, thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

1) Yankees: Alex Rodriguez ($25 million), CC Sabathia ($23 million), Mark Teixeira $22.5 million. Total: $70.5 million.

2) Tigers: Miguel Cabrera ($22 million), Justin Verlander ($20 million). Total: $42 million.

3) Red Sox: Josh Beckett ($15.75 million), John Lackey ($15.25 million), Dustin Pedroia ($10 million). Total: $41 million.

4) Twins: Joe Mauer ($23 million), Denard Span ($6.5 million). Total: $29.5 million.

5) Blue Jays: Vernon Wells ($21 million), Ricky Romero ($7.5 million). Total: $28.5 million.

6) Phillies: Ryan Howard ($25 million). Total: $25 million.

7) Brewers: Yovani Gallardo ($11.25 million), Ryan Braun ($10 million). Total: $21.25 million.

8) Mariners: Felix Hernandez ($20 million). Total $20 million.

9) Cubs: Alfonso Soriano ($18 million). Total: $18 million.

10) Cardinals: Matt Holliday ($17 million). Total: $17 million.

11) Marlins: Hanley Ramirez ($16 million). Total: $16 million.

12) Orioles: Nick Markakis ($15 million). Total: $15 million.

13) Diamondbacks: Justin Upton ($14.25 million). Total: $14.25 million.

14) White Sox: Alex Rios ($12.5 million). Total: $12.5 million.

15) Reds: Aroldis Chapman ($3 millilon). Total: $3 million.

16) Nationals: Bryce Harper ($900,000). Total: $900,000.

Fourteen teams (Angels, Astros, Athletics, Braves, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Mets, Padres, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Rockies and Royals) currently have committed $0 for 2014. I'll bet that, by the time spring training opens, the Angels and Athletics will definitely be off this list - the A's have won the right to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma - and possibly the Rangers.

Now, we'll have to revisit this come March to get a better comparison to the last time we did this. But...the last time we did this, there was $586,225,000 committed to players four years down the line. There's currently $374,400,000 committed to players in that same group.

When you factor in this year's free agents as well as any arbitration-eligible players who get long-term extensions, I'd be surprised if the industry caught up by roughly $212 million 

The Yankees currently have $20.5 million fewer committed, but that'll change in a snap if they sign Cliff Lee. And that's why I think they'll work hard to keep Derek Jeter at three years, even if it means paying him a higher annual salary to get the shorter length.

The Red Sox's commitments look less impressive now - both Beckett and Lackey registered disappointing 2010 seasons - than they did back in March of '09.

And the Tigers, they're an interesting one. They're sure to add to that $42 million figure, with Crawford and Victor Martinez believed to be top targets. While Cabrera and Verlander both seem like sound investments, they're still putting themselves in an interesting stratosphere given that they don't have the financial wherewithal of the Yankees or Red Sox. Remember, they're just now freeing themselves of questionable long-term investments like Magglio Ordonez, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman.

The Mets? Good for them that they have $0 committed. Sandy Alderson has spoken about payroll flexibility. It's coming after 2011.

--Speaking of the Mets, they might not have a manager until December. Wow. To me, it reflects the reality that the Mets are viewing their restoration as a long-term project, as well they should. They'd probably be more concerned with having a manager in place if they were looking to recruit big-time free agents. But they're not.

--There's just one solution to these Gold Gloves debates: We need to stop having them. The idea that managers and coaches vote on these based on eyewitness observations is laughably antiquated. Remember, managers and coaches will see teams inside their division 18 times and teams outside their divisions as few as six times. You don't think that will skew voting?

Evaluating defense remains one of the game's greatest challenges, but if we want to acknowledge annual awards on this front, I think we're much better off going with the Fielding Bible awards. 

--Have a great day.

 

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