In the absence of a no-trade clause (the Marlins don’t include them as a matter of policy), the post-retirement provisions are meant to show Pujols that the Marlins are committed to him for the long haul. But in including those terms, the Marlins may have other motives.
“This looks more like deferred compensation,” says Steve Walters, a sports economist and professor at Loyola Marymount University. “This may be a way for the Marlins to defer some of his playing contracts in the future.”
The details are unknown, but depending on the terms, this means that the Marlins could shave come money off of Pujols player salary in exchange for him playing a role in marketing, scouting, coaching, or management several years down the line.
According to Walters, who sometimes acts as an economic consultant for teams including the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox, such provisions are usually reserved for fan favorites who have already been with their teams for several years. “It’s common for popular local personalities to be welcomed into the fold. The teams want you around to promote the product, be an adviser. He cites “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks, who played his entire career with the Chicago Cubs and continued on coaching, as an example.
“But with a free agent, you are just establishing the relationship, and it doesn’t always work out.”
The Texas Rangers, for example, pinned their franchise’s hopes on shortstop Alex Rodriguez in 2000 with a 10-year, $249 million contract, the second largest in baseball history. But Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees in 2004, and the Rangers had to pay $67 million of the 179 million left on the contract. In 2009, the firm holding a controlling interest in the team went broke, and the Rangers had to be put up for auction.