Looking not so deep into the A's future one thing is very clear. The A's have little to no finacial obligations for players in 2011. They will have twelve (12) Arbitration (one) or (two) players, meaning the club still has two or more years of control over them before Free Agency. Just two players will be in there last year of team control, Jack Cust and Michael Wuertz..
Long gone should be Crosby, Chavez, Nomar, Giambi, Holliday and Ellis with there contracts big and small. The A's are going to have a boatload of money to spend soon. Should we lock up Cust now to a five year deal and keep control of him till the end of 2014?
Cot's Baseball Contracts mlbcontracts.blogspot.com (if the link does not work)
All Jack Cust has done for the A'sin his three years on the team is lead the regular players every year in OPS, HR's and RBI's. Sometimes by very large margins.
Player HR RBI OPS
Cust '07 26 82 .912
Swisher '07 22 78 .836
Cust '08 33 77 .851
Brown '08 13
Crosby '08 61 (yes he was second last year)
Sweeney '08 .749
Cust '09 5 17(2nd) .869
Suzuki '09 .848
Holliday '09 4 22 .692
I think Jack has proven that he is going to hit around 30 HR's a year and lead or be around the top of the team in OPS every year. Jack Cust is 30 years old and has no history of injurys and it's possible his best years are ahead of him. Do we need to wait and see? We have the money to spend. We can even be wrong and not have it hurt us that bad. If he really breaks out and hits 40+ HR and hits around .290 this year or next we flat won't be able to afford him if we let him get anywhere close to Free Agency.
As it is Jack Cust is probably worth a minimum $10 million a year on the open market. Players of similar rankings from Elias at the top end of the B free agent class of 1B/DH/OF are Jermaine Dye ($11.5 mill). Johney Damon ($13 mill), And J.D. Drew. ($14mill). Yes they are all making that from teams that have more money to spend and are position players of more value to a team but those are players with similar offensive value. Jack Cust may have even more value to the A's who have no other long-term OPS guys to support it. And he puts up his numbers in a notorious pitchers park that has destroyed the confidence of many great players.
Now the A's keep Cust out of Arb this year by giving him $ 2.8 mill for '09. It will probably cost us $1-2 Million more a year in '10 and even more again in 2011 with his numbers staying the same. He blows up and he could get $7-8 million his last year then be gone.
I say we offer Cust a contract somewhere in the range of 5 years at $37.5 Million. Starting at $4.5 million in 2010 and getting a Million raise ever year of his contract with his last year making $8.5 million. $5 Million signing bonus.
Why should the A's do it? He's worth $10 mill a year now. Why should Cust do it?, he gets paid more, sooner, with less risk down the road for him and a shot at one more big contract behind it.
Then we have a few more years before we have to worry about about Kurt Suzuki, Dallas Braden and any other's that step up and show they could be Keepers.
I think we need to make this happen sooner rather than later, preferably this season. Who's with me?