Evan Longoria's 6 year/$17.5 million dollar deal (plus three team options) with the Rays is widely considered to be the best contract in baseball today, but the contract the Rockies gave to Ubaldo Jimenez last January has to be in the top ten. Take a look at the numbers:
4 years/$10 million (2009-2012) with team options for 2013 and 2014
2010: $1.25 million
2011: $2.8 million
2012: $4.2 million
2013: $5.75 (club option)
2014: $8 million (club option)
Not only does this deal buy out all of Jimenez's arbitration years except his final one, but it gives the Rockies the opportunity to buy out Jimenez's final year of arbitration and his first free agent season if they so choose. This deal will wind up saving the Rockies millions of dollars down the road including this offseason when Jimenez, who is the front runner to win the NL CY Young award right now, would have been eligible for arbitration. Instead Jimenez is locked in for 2011 at a very team friendly rate of $2.8 million, which is chump change in baseball economics.
To put things in perspective, the Mets are paying Oliver Perez $12 million this season. From 2009-2012, Ublado Jimenez will earn $10 million. Kudos to Dan O'Dowd.