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Defer or Deny?

I've never really understood the benefit to clubs when they defer payment to players. Someday the money is going to become due. Their eventually going to find themselves paying for players who are sitting in a rocker someplace while trying to field a competitive club in the here and now.

The Cardinals are still paying Scott Rolen, who is two teams removed from Busch Stadium. And, even if Albert Pujols does the unthinkable and skips town after 2011, he'll still be drawing a paycheck from St. Louis for years to come... The ownership of the Twins doesn't believe in deferred payments, which is complicating the effort to sign catcher Joe Mauer to a longterm contract. But the Cardinals will almost assuredly ask Pujols to defer money in a deal to remain in St. Louis.

While I'm sure the ownership of the Redbirds knows a lot more about high finance than me -- with some members of the group in the banking industry and others in big business -- an article on NESN's Web site sure makes one think twice about deferred payments.

According to the story, the Mets still owe Bobby Bonilla -- who hasn't played for their club in the better part of a decade -- nearly $30 million. Bobby Bo gets annual payments of $1.19 million from New York from 2011 through 2035 that add up to $29.75 million.

The Red Sox, in turn, owe Pedro Martinez $30 million for pitching for their club five years ago. He gets deferred payments of $1.94 million for 16 years, or until 2026.

A couple million bucks here or there isn't much. But, if over the course of a decade or decade and a half you give two or three guys deferred contracts, that's one significant current day player that a team suddenly can't afford.