The full value of this post is deferred until 2013 ...
Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors took a look at backloaded deals around the majors. Here's a sample: Cliff Lee's new deal with the Phillies averages $24 million per year, but he'll receive only $11 million in 2011.
In 2015, when Lee is poised to turn 37, he will be guaranteed $25 million. In 2016, when Lee is poised to turn 38, he will be due $27.5 million in salary or receive a $12.5 million buyout just for breathing. And the $27.5 million becomes guaranteed if he pitches 200 innings in 2015 or 400 innings in 2014-15.
The Phillies are taking a risk on the future in order to increase their chances of winning in the present. Might work, might not. But as Dierkes shows, several teams are going the deferred route. Deferred payments are not inherently mistakes. Whom you are paying is much more important then when you are paying them.
At Fangraphs, Jesse Wolfersberger charts the offenses of the National League in terms of how well they got on base and how efficiently they drove those runners in last season. The Dodgers are in the bad quadrant — below average in both categories. Though they weren't far from being in the good quadrant, we know that in terms of on-base percentage, they'll be moving backward unless some holdovers post some significant improvement.
If you really think dating a celebrity was the problem, then how come so many ballplayers who don't date celebrities suck?