To Be The Man

The Jayson Werth signing made me scratch my head.

This morning's (now repudiated) rumor of the Nationals making a 7-year offer to Cliff Lee made me wonder.

What is it worth to be the Man?

The average life expectancy of a white male in the U.S. is around 76 years, so if Cliff Lee's next contract takes him to roughly age 38.  Were he to then retire, he'd have 38 more years to spend whatever he's earned: a 6Y/$20M contract would bring in $120M, and he'd have to spend a little under 9 grand per day for the rest of his life to blow through that.  (This, of course, assumes that he doesn't invest it in any way that brings a positive return of any kind).

So $100M here, $120M there; 5, 6, 7 years- what does it really matter when the numbers are that staggering?

At that point, it truly is all about ego.  For Jayson Werth, to be the Man (the big paycheck, the heart of the batting order, the media attention) meant more than another 3 or 4 shots at a championship with Philly, Boston or anyplace else where he would have been the complementary piece to another Man- Ryan Howard or Chase Utley, Kevin Youkilis or Adrian Gonzalez.

All of this might be part of why Cliff Lee is rumored to prefer Texas- in New York, he shares the spotlight with CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

Obviously, the Yankees have what it takes to make Lee a fabulously wealthy man for the rest of his life. But so do the Rangers. The Yankees offer a seemingly sure ticket to the postseason for the length of his contract, but while the A's rebuild and the Angels restructure and the Mariners recover, maybe the Rangers offer Lee the same chance.  And in Texas, there's no question over who's the Man.

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