clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A Helping Hampton?

New, 2 comments

In his Sunday notes column, ESPN's Peter Gammons has this to pass along about the Glavine non-signing:

Mike Hampton told Tom Glavine that he, Hampton, informed the Braves that he would restructure his contract to see if they could have the two lefties for something close to the $15M Hampton gets in 2007. No interest, and Glavine never got an offer from Atlanta.

The quote comes off as something of a rip against the Braves front office, but we don't know the particulars of what "restructure" means. This seems like it would be a great deal for Atlanta, who owe Hampton full fare going forward ($14.5 million in 2007, $15 million in 2008) without any further help with yearly salary from Florida or Colorado. By restructuring the contract I would think that Hampton would be sacrificing dollars per year for more years.

Hampton will be 34 for the majority of the 2007 season, and the Braves may not have wanted to extend his contract past it's expiration in 2008. While salary relief now would seem to be a good move, the Braves under any possible restructuring would likely have to pony up guaranteed years reaching out as far as 2010 when Hampton would be in his late 30's. Committing extra years to a pitcher who hasn't played in a Major League game in a year and a half is a dubious decision and one I don't blame the Braves for not wanting to make. It may also have been one the Braves couldn't in good business faith make. Because Hampton is coming off surgery there is a very small likelihood that the Braves could find any company willing to insure a contract extension - a very necessary part of long contracts in today's marketplace.

The other option in a contract restructuring would be to defer money (usually with interest) for several years after the playing part of the contract is up. Hampton's contract already calls for $19 million of his signing bonus to be deferred from 2009 to 2018 at 3% interest, which will be paid by Colorado not Atlanta. So deferring payments would presumably be something that Hampton is open to doing. But do the Braves really want to add payments for years to come for a player that may no longer be with them? There may also be some constraints imposed by Time-Warner with regards to large deferred payouts while the team is being sold.

Regardless of whether the Braves were interested in a restructuring or not, those types of deals take time. Chipper Jones' contract restructuring took several weeks to complete after word got out of the agreement last year. During that time there were a series of physicals which Jones took while the Braves worked to get the contract extension insured - something that was touch and go for a while and may have included some exclusions for prior injuries. While the Gammons comment on the surface seems to be a knock against the Braves attempt to bring Glavine back to Atlanta, it actually underscores the impatience of Tom Glavine for not waiting for all the financial and/or personnel pieces to fall into place in Atlanta. From everything being said around baseball it seems as though Glavine simply did not give the Braves enough time to remove the hurdles they faced before committing to offering him a contract.