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The long-term commitments

Apologies for the delay this morning. I had to go see the dentist.

With virtually all of the big names off the board this winter, let's conduct our every-18-months-or-so audit of how clubs stand regarding their long-term commitments. The only remaining name that figures to receive a contract into 2015 is Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler (yes, the Yankees like him a lot).

In the past - this entry and this entry, to be specific - I focused solely on four seasons down the road. In March 2009, in other words, I looked at 2012, and following the 2010 season, I looked at how much teams had committed to 2014.

Looking back, I'm not sure why I limited the survey in such a manner. In light of some of the monster deals given out this winter, I want to see how much clubs have committed for player talent for 2015 and beyond.

As in the past, I look only at guaranteed contracts, as opposed to team options with buyouts, because I'm most interested in roster flexibility. Those buyouts count as real dollars spent, obviously, but when clubs are planning ahead, they can think, "OK, now that Player X stinks, we'll write him a check and send him on his way" and not concern themselves with how they're going to either jettison him or tolerate him with an ongoing contract. Same goes for vesting options; that's not something that occupies a team's thoughts this far in advance.

Here are your rankings, from most committed to least. Thanks very much to Cot's Baseball Contracts for all of the data:

1. Angels: $274.5 million, with Albert Pujols ($189 million from 2015 through 2021), Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson ($38 million through 2016 each) and Howie Kendrick ($9.5 million for 2015) the recipients.

2. Colorado: $167 million, all to two players: Troy Tulowitzki ($114 million through '20) and Carlos Gonzalez ($53 million through '17).

3. Detroit: $166 million, with $144 million going to new guy Prince Fielder (through '20) and $22 million more to Miguel Cabrera for '15.

4. Boston: 159.25 million., with Adrian Gonzalez ($85 million through '18), Carl Crawford ($62.25 million through '17) the primary beneficiaries and Clay Buccholz picking up $12 million for '15.

5. Yankees: $154 million, splits among the trio of Alex Rodriguez ($61 million through '17),  CC Sabathia ($48 million through '16) and Mark Teixeira ($45 million through '16).

6. Dodgers: $107 million, all to Matt Kemp through '18.

7. Milwaukee: $103 million, all to Ryan Braun through '20.

8. Minnesota: $92 million, all to Joe Mauer through '18.

9. Washington: $88.811 million, divvied up among Jayson Werth ($64.711 million through '17), Gio Gonzalez ($23 million through '16) and youngster Bryce Harper $1 million in '15).

10. Philadelphia: $88 million, with Ryan Howard getting $50 million through '16, Cliff Lee $25 million in '15 and Jonathan Papelbon $13 million in '15.

11. Miami: $86 million, split between new arrivals Jose Reyes ($66 million through '17) and Mark Buehrle ($20 million in '15).  

12. Texas: $49 million, with $31 million for Japanese rookie Yu Darvish and $18 million for Adrian Beltre.

13. St. Louis: $43.375 million, with Matt Holliday receiving $34 million through '16 and Jaime Garcia getting $9.375 million in '15.

14. White Sox: $41.5 million, with newly extended John Danks getting $31.5 million through '16 and Alexei Ramirez receiving $10 million in '15.  

15. Arizona: $26.908 million split between 2015 paychecks to Justin Upton ($14.708 million) and Trevor Cahill ($12.2 million).  

16. Cincinnati: $24.584 million, all for Jay Bruce through '16.

17. Toronto: $21.5 million, featuring 2015 paychecks for Jose Bautista ($14 million) and Ricky Romero ($7.5 million).

18. Atlanta: $13.2 million, all for  Dan Uggla in '15.

19. Oakland: $10.5 million for the just signed Yoenis Cespedes in '15.

20. Pittsburgh: $8.834 million for Jose Tabata through '16.

21. Tampa Bay: $8 million for rookie Matt Moore through '16.

22. (tie) Baltimore, Cubs, Cleveland, Houston, Kansas City, Mets, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle: $0.

Thoughts? This represents progress for the Yankees, who have worked their way down to fifth, although the A-Rod contract might be the worst of any player listed. I would've pegged the Phillies to be higher. Amazing that Colorado is so high, especially going so long with Tulowitzki after seeing their 11-year deal with Todd Helton turn poorly.

The Mets? Well, I guess the $0 for '15 means the Mets' cleansing process is slowly working. If they can get a new owner by then, or if Fred Wilpon wins the lottery, then maybe they can try making some long-term investments by then.

--Stop by later for another contest.


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