Part of the wonder surrounding Yasiel Puig is that what looked like a risky contract – seven years, $42 million for a mostly unscouted amateur – now looks like a bargain.
But if Puig even keeps up a semblance of his current performance, that bargain isn’t going to last for long.
After Puig earns three years of service time (at this rate, following the 2016 season, because the Dodgers called him up in June), he can opt out of his current deal and enter the arbitration process. And if you’ve paid any attention to Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw or even Chad Billingsley or Andre Ethier, you know what that means.
|3||$467,000||$500,000||$3.1 million||$475,000||$2 million|
|4||$4 million||$7.5 million||$5.5 million||$3.85 million||$4.5 million|
|5||$6.95 million||$11 million||$9.25 million||$6.275 million||$5.5 million*|
|6||$10 million||$18 million?||$10.95 million||$9 million||$6.5 million*|
|7||$20 million||$24 million?||$13.5 million||$11 million||$7.5 million*|
|Bonuses||$2 million||$3 million||$12 million|
|Total||$42.206 million||$64.844 million?||$43.112 million||$31.3 million||$42 million*|
*can opt out and seek arbitration
Note: Puig was guaranteed $2 million in his first year, regardless of whether he played in the majors. Ethier was called up early enough in his rookie campaign to start his arbitration clock sooner.
Although you’ll see Billingsley is currently slated to earn less than Puig over his first seven years, he still has a higher total during the arbitration-eligible seasons than Puig would have without opting out.
Meanwhile, if he can post .850-ish OPSes like Ethier did in his arbitration years, Puig will probably add at least another $15 million to his bank account. Any Kemp-like MVP-caliber seasons from 2016 on will push Puig even higher.
And if Puig continues to be otherworldly like a Kershaw – except one who plays every day – look out.
Of course, whatever the extra dollars are, the Dodgers and their fans will gladly accept the consequences of Puig being a star, as long as he’s a star for them.