It's no wonder the New York Yankees have won more World Series tournaments than any other team in major league baseball: The Yankees have paid four of the 10 most expensive sports contracts of all time. Nine of the 10 most expensive sports contracts occurred in baseball. As any sports fan knows, how much discretionary income a team has in contracts can make a big difference when it comes to performance.
Those players the Yankees paid the big bucks for? A-Rod and Derek Jeter make the list. So do Mark Teixera and CC Sabathia. A-Rod tops the list with a 10-year contract valued at $275,000,000. Per game, Rodriguez makes approximately $169,753.09.
Love them or hate them, every sports fan knows that trades shake up the team dynamic, sometimes enough to propel an underperforming team to the playoffs. Some of the biggest trades to occur in sports history include:
Cristiano Ronaldo's move to pro soccer team Real Madrid
Albert Pujols's move to the Los Angeles Angels, which cost $254 million
Joe Mauer's 8-year contract with the Minnesota Twins
Manny Ramirez's $160 million contract with the Red Sox
The Role of the Contract:
The athlete contract covers several basic principles: Period of Time, Benefits to the Athlete, Obligations, Default Provisions (what happens if neither side delivers), Tax Policy, Dispute, Renewal and other clauses, including Drug Testing, Sponsorships and Behavior. Athletes' agents or attorneys can review a team contract and negotiate on behalf of the athlete for a better deal. However, athletes can also negotiate their own contracts, which is useful for those who do not want to pay fees. The contract typically consists of a boilerplate team contract, which is the same for all team players, and an individual contract that covers salary.
Unless an athlete insists on a "do not trade" clause, athletes may be traded to teams, so long as each party gives their consent. Contracts must be verbally agreed to or signed by athletes; implicit contracts, where agreement is implied but not confirmed, are no longer used in the sports industry. Underage athletes may be required to obtain a parent or guardian signature on contracts, or they may be able to sign the contract themselves. Minor athletes also cannot void a contract at will.
Over the years, athletes have insisted on some pretty strange clauses in their contract, as have team owners. Some of the funniest:
Billy Beane insisted on a clause allowing him to renegotiate his contract if the Oakland A's were sold -- a clause he used to his advantage after a 2005 sale.
Ichiro Suzuki negotiated a 2007 contract extension with the Mariners that included airline tickets to Japan and a rental allowance over $30,000.
Red Sox management insisted that pitcher Curt Shilling stay skinny, incentivizing him with $2 million.
San Francisco giants inserted a contract clause allowing them to drop Barry Bonds if he got in more legal trouble.
Contract questions like these might pop up at your next pub trivia, or might help you negotiate your own contract with better understanding of what's at stake. Whether they sign at a major media event or have their contracts shared with them online, every professional athlete today pays very close attention to what exactly is on each page.