MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Payoff for long-term deals a mixed bag

Payoff for long-term deals a mixed bag

The intention is good. An organization reaches out to a high-profile player, provides him with long-term security, looking to show its fan base a commitment to success.

It, however, is a gamble.

From Wayne Garland and the Indians in 1976 to Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins in 2015, there have been 14 players sign contracts with guarantees of 10 or more seasons, eight of them in the current decade.

The payoffs for the investments have been mixed at best.

A look at the progression of the 10-year or longer contract:

Wayne Garland, 10 years, $2.3 million, Indians, 1977
In the first full year of free agency, the Indians made a major move, signing Garland, who was coming off a 20-win season with the Orioles, and was only 25. He led the Majors with 19 losses that first year, and after five years and a 28-48 record, Garland's career ended.

Dave Winfield, 10 years, $23 million, Yankees, 1981
Winfield was dealt to the Angels early in the contract's final season. In the Winfield era, the Yankees advanced to the postseason only once, losing to the Dodgers in the World Series. Owner George Steinbrenner proclaimed Winfield "Mr. May," a backhand comparison to predecessor Reggie Jackson, known as Mr. October. Winfield, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, was an All-Star his first eight years in pinstripes.

Todd Helton, 11 years, $151.5 million, Rockies, 2001
Given an extension to his existing contract, the Helton signing came at the end of the Spring Training after the Rockies' offseason headline-making signings of free-agent pitchers Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle. Colorado did advance to the World Series in 2007 and claimed the National League Wild Card again in '09. Helton was an All-Star the first four years of the deal, but then he battled lingering back problems and failed to play in 150 games any of the final seven seasons, never hitting more than 20 home runs or driving in 100 runs in that stretch.

Alex Rodriguez, 10 years, $252 million, Rangers, 2001
Then Rangers owner Tom Hicks made a pre-emptive bid, more than double Rodriguez' next best offer. Rodriguez, the American League MVP Award runner-up in 2002, won the AL MVP Award in '03, but Texas finished last in the AL West in three seasons before Rodriguez was dealt to the Yankees after the Rangers agreed to pick up $67 million of the remaining $179 million Rodriguez was owed.

Derek Jeter, 10 years, $189 million, Yankees, 2001
Jeter was not only an All-Star in eight of the 10 years, but he was named the team captain, which had been vacant since the death of Thurman Munson, and played four additional years for the Yankees before retiring.

Rodriguez, 10 years, $275 million, Yankees, 2008
Rodriguez took advantage of an opt-out clause in the deal he signed with the Rangers, and he leveraged it into a new 10-year deal. The ending wasn't completely happy. While Rodriguez won the AL MVP Award in 2005 and '07, he was eventually suspended for the 162-game regular season in 2014 for violating baseball's drug policy.

Troy Tulowitzki, 10 years, $157.75 million, Rockies, 2011
Considered the heir to Helton as the face of the franchise, Tulowitzki was troubled with leg problems, and in the 2012-14 seasons, he appeared in a combined total of 264 games. He was traded to the Blue Jays in late July 2015, the Rockies having to take on the $40 million due Jose Reyes to offset the $105 million remaining on Tulowitzki's contract.

Ryan Braun, 10 years, $145.5 million, Brewers, 2011
While Braun was suspended for the final 65 games of the 2013 season, he has returned to the Brewers' active roster, regained his All-Star status and handled the situation with a professional approach that has allowed him to reaffirm his stature with Milwaukee fans.

Albert Pujols. 10 years, $240 million, Angels, 2012
Signed at the age of 32, along with C.J. Wilson and Josh Hamilton in an offseason spending spree by Angels owner Arte Moreno, Pujols has not had the impact he did with the Cardinals, but he does benefit from the DH role, and has hit 99 home runs and driven in 319 the past three seasons after being limited to 99 games in 2013.

Elvis Andrus, 10 years, $131.275 million, Rangers, 2013
In the fourth year of the deal. Andrus reached career highs with a .302 average, .800 OPS and 69 RBIs. He has an opt-out in the contract after both the 2018 and '19 seasons.

Evan Longoria, 10 years, $136.6 million, Rays, 2013
Longoria is the face of the franchise, and has responded to his long-term security by playing in 642 of 648 games the first four years of his new deal. He also received AL MVP Award votes in 2013 and '16.

Joey Votto, 10 years, $225 million, Reds, 2014
After being limited to 62 games in 2014, Votto has rebounded to finish third and seventh in NL MVP Award voting the past two years, hitting a combined .320 with 58 home runs and 177 RBIs while leading NL in walks (143) in 2015, and on-base percentage (.434) in 2016.

Robinson Cano, 10 years, $252 million, Mariners, 2014
The Mariners made a pre-emptive offer to convince Cano not to remain with the Yankees, looking at him as a part of a foundation for the turnaround of a franchise that has the longest postseason drought (15 seasons) in the Major Leagues. He has been an All-Star in two of three seasons. Cano showed signs of settling in to the new digs last season, hitting a career-high 39 home runs despite playing home games at Safeco Field, and drove in 103 runs.

Giancarlo Stanton, 13 years, $325 million, Marlins, 2015
Marlins ownership answered questions about their commitment to keeping star players by signing Stanton to the longest deal in Major League history when he was 25, after he was an All-Star and finished second in the NL MVP Award voting in 2014. Injuries have limited him to 193 games the first two years, but Miami feels he is a foundation to build a team around.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Write 'em Cowboy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.