The contract Johan Santana signed with the Mets guarantees him $132 million over six seasons. There is a $25 million club option for 2014 or a $5.5 million buyout.
The option can vest, however, based on how Santana fares in the Cy Young voting or how many innings he pitches. If the option vests, Santana would receive $157 million over seven seasons.
CC Sabathia will receive $161 million over seven years if he fulfills the entire contract. So Sabathia cost only $4 million more. Santana’s average annual value would be $22.42 million, Sabathia’s $23 million.
The difference is that the Yankees did not have to surrender any prospects, which is what the Mets had to do. This is what the Yankees intended to do all along. While they took the hit in 2008, they benefit in the long term by not shedding any prospects.
Meanwhile it’s amusing to read so many columnists in New York and elsewhere criticizing the Yankees for spending so much money on Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. These are the same people who ripped Cashman for not getting Santana and would have called for his head had Sabathia signed with another team.
I can’t say I agree with every move Cashman has made. But he can’t win. If he spends money, he’s evil. If he doesn’t spend money, he’s foolish. Until baseball changes the rules, the Yankees are playing by the rules.