Dusty Baker is the manager of the Washington Nationals, or Bryce Harper's team, whichever you want to call them. During a press conference today, Baker was asked whether 22 year old right hander Joe Ross had a future as a top of the rotation guy. Baker answered in the best way that he possibly could by saying,
"He's gonna have to jump over $200 million to get to the top of the rotation."
According to Spotrac, Ross is making just over half a million this season. The guys who are currently at the top of the Nationals rotation are Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. Strasburg inked a 7 year $175 million dollar extension yesterday and Scherzer is in the midst of a 7 year $210 million dollar deal. Number three starter Gio Gonzalez is a relative bargain, playing on a 5 year $42 million dollar deal.
Little 22 year old Ross is playing better baseball than any of these big money guys right now, he's 3-1 with an ERA down near 1.00, so the answer to this question should have and probably did pain Baker to say.
This is what Baker has to say though and I give him all the credit in the world for saying it. The money in baseball is stupid, but Strasburg and Scherzer are not going anywhere for a very long time. These massive pitching contracts are the norm now and its so dumb I can never wrap my head around why teams do it. Every one of the guys signing these deals is at least 28 aka nearing (or at) their peak, and you know what comes after ones peak? Steep decline.
There are very few pitchers who could justify signing a $200 million dollar deal in their late 20's-early 30's, looking at you Randy Johnson.
Its guys at Ross age that deserve the massive money deals, but baseball does not work that way. Players have to sit in the minors and then in arbitration for an eternity before signing the $200 million dollar deal. This comes to the detriment of the ball club because paying a player in his prime to a long term deal is just turning your head on father time and hoping for the best, while effectively screwing you team for years and years to come. Baseball, so antiquated.