It is a common occurrence in the NFL for players to restructure their contracts. With the salary cap and the ability of any team to release a player without having to pay anything more than the guaranteed portion of the contract. In Major League Baseball, the entirety of the contract is guaranteed, so it is rare to see a player or team restructure a contract. At least, until now.
Earlier today, it was learned that Jeremy Guthrie and the Royals agree to restructure his contract back in November, saving the Royals $3 Million in 2014. Now, instead of making $11 Million this season, he is down to $8 Million. In exchange, Guthrie had a mutual option for $10 Million in 2016 with a $3.2 Million buyout. Essentially, Guthrie makes a minimum of $200,000 extra to decrease his salary this season. Now, Dayton Moore has a bit more payroll flexibility to add pieces to a team already expected to content for the postseason.
As surprising as such a move was for both Guthrie and the Royals, it may be more surprising that other teams have not attempted to make the same sort of move. With the Royals still in need of another starting pitcher, any extra money they are able to remove from their payroll could only help. Even that $3 Million could make a difference in being able to afford another player, or in any potential extension discussions.
Could it be that more teams start restructuring contracts going forward? Teams like the A’s and the Rays, both of which have limited capacity to take on payroll, may look to copy this approach. Perhaps by getting players to agree to forgo a few million dollars for a couple of years in exchange for the same type of option and buyout that Guthrie received, they would be able to resign their own key free agents instead of continually having to trade away talent when those players become too expensive. Now, there may be another option.
Restructuring Jeremy Guthrie’s contact just continues what has been an excellent past two offseasons for Dayton Moore. In years past, ‘innovative’ was not a word asscoaited with the Royals front office. Now, Moore may be ahead of the curve with finding ways to be able to afford to keep the core talent on the Royals and sign those players that could take the team to the next level.
Dayton Moore and the Royals front office may be ahead of the curve. Imagine that.