Reversing contract for success

In baseball, as in most industries, a person's earning potential goes up as the person gains more experience. This makes sense. A more experienced employee is more valuable. And in most industries, a company will have people at varying levels of experience.

This is where this business practice breaks down for small market baseball teams. Currently the Brewers have a $63 million payroll. This number could actually go down next year with the bulk of Garza's salary going off the books and would go down significantly if Braun (and his salary) were traded. This is happening while the majority of Brewers revenue sources are holding steady. Bluntly put the Brewers are making money while rebuilding. How best to invest this in the future contender?

One option is to look at extensions that reverse the trend of increasing annual salaries. Instead of signing Arcia to a contract extension for $37 million for 6 years with totals of $1, $2, $7, $9, $11 and $14 million sign him to a contract for $35 million over the next 6 years at $8, $10, $5, $4, $4, $4. The payer gets the money up front so they can re-invest it or buy mom a new house. The team spends more money now when they have it and has salary room to spend on other players when they are in contention. This also improves the team's chances of trading the play if they wish. (I am not advocating signing any specific player at this moment just using Arcia as an example.)

Considering that baseball works with guaranteed salaries, why do you never hear of teams managing their payroll this way? Six years at $35 M is still 6 years at $35 M. It would have been great to do this with Braun and Fielder when they were coming up, the Brewers may have had money for that one more pitcher that could have put us over the top.

If the Brewers were able to sign two or three of their young players to reverse contracts like this; it could make a long term difference in future roster flexibility.