Seven of the best deals in American sports
Michael Harris II had a great season for the Atlanta Braves. The midfielder won Rookie of the Year at the National League with 135 plus OPS and 19 home runs, and a total battle score of 5.3. The Braves saw this coming and signed him to an eight-year, $72 million deal this summer.
It seems generous to offer a rookie a long-term contract a few months after a good season, but it really puts them in a predicament. His contract, under the collective bargaining agreement, was under their control for seven years. Harris will not qualify as a referee until after his third season, unless he qualifies as a “Super Two” player after his second season. Also, the only significant paycheck he’s ever seen as a pro is a $550,000 bonus for signing the rookie in 2019, so, of course, he will be satisfied with a few million dollars in his pocket quickly.
The problem with Harris and many other players is that they are tied to the team that picked them for seven years. It leaves them no room to maximize their value, so while Julio Rodríguez’s contract looks great, the deal is in the Seattle Mariners’ favor. They control all the options and he has to meet all the MVP escalators to get all the money in a deal that can last until 2039.