We realize that contracts in this league are very small, worthless amounts of money, but there has to be some sort of element that provides structure and balance right? After all, getting paid pocket change to play wiffleball is humorous, one of the characteristics of the JAL.
That being said, just like any other "pro" sports league there is conversation to be made regarding the appropriateness of an individual players contract based on their payment vs production.
Before diving into some 'worthy and unworthy' current contract situations, let's look at the average JAL contract to establish some context.
As of right now, the average contract in the JAL (not including bonus money) is an $8.54 / 2.2 tournament deal. Generally speaking, this means that JAL owners seem to think an 'average' player is worth about $4.27 for one tournament.
With that in mind, here our some current contracts worth examining.... (with some Christmas season glamour)
Black Friday Sales
Michael Sullivan - Currently under a $6 / 2 tournament contract with the Cobras (1 tournament left).
Prior to signing with the Cobras Michael was also offered a $12 / 2 tournament deal by Silver Lake, but opted to sign with Vancouver citing that he wanted to play for a "contender."
In JAL X Michael left no doubt he was worth more by throwing two no-hitters and winning the Batting Crown award.
Going forward it will be difficult for the Cobras to resign Michael when his contract is up for a few reasons. 1. If he doesn't win a title with the Cobras he may seek a new team to fulfill his desire to do so, 2. if he does win a title with the team he will have accomplished his goal and seek a pay raise, 3. Cobras owner Erika Halverson openly says she is a "cheap" owner, so it's doubtful Michael will be offered anything too big from the team when he becomes a free agent.
Shawn Godinho - Currently under a $5 / 2 tournament contract with the Rapids (1 tournament left).
Shawn's play in JAL X was overlooked by his teammate Ty's dominance at pitcher. From the box Shawn was an above averege hitter with a good OBP and in the field he was solid. In all, he was a productive player that didn't make mistakes. Paying almost $2 less than the league's average salary was a quite a steal by Rapids owner Julie Johnson.
If the Rapids win JAL XI and become the first team to ever repeat as champs it'll be hard for Shawn to walk away from the Rapids when his contract is up. Given that Julie currently pays Ty $7 per tournament, we expect her to offer Shawn a more accurate contract when he becomes a free agent to keep the league's top team together.
Owner Had Too Much Eggnog
Tierney Uhlenkott - The Lynx currently have Tierney under a $20 / 3 tournament contract, with a $10 bonus for any championship won (2 tournaments left)
With this deal Tierney is currently tied as the 2nd highest paid player in the JAL, but 1st if you count potential money from her bonus agreement.
In JAL X Tierney DH'd for the Lynx and hit very well. Now, was it '2nd highest paid player well' ehhhh, we'll let you decide.... But the best part about this contract is that the Lynx signed Tierney to this deal fresh off the heels of JAL VIII. In case you missed it, Tierney went 1/31 batting in JAL VIII. We love Tierney here at the JAL, but can't help saying this contract is definitely a head-scratcher.
With still two tournaments left on her contract it's too soon to speculate on her next contract. It's probably a sure bet she won't be traded either as it's unlikely any team will want to add her large contract to their payroll.
Josh Wall - Currently under a $10 / 2 tournament contract with underdogs (1 tournament left)
Josh's contract was a classic example of an owner taking a risk. Having never yet played it was unclear how good Josh would be going into JAL X. The owners were aware he was a good athlete but didn't know how well that would translate to wiffleball.
Silver Lake owner Cathy Woodruff already had Mason Klingberg signed and thought with that if Josh was good they could be in contention to win the cup. The biggest problem was that there was enough interest in Josh from the other team owners that Cathy felt she had to make an offer totaling $10 in order to secure him, which she did.
After having limited effectiveness in JAL X his contract is probably too steep. Unless he has a spectacular JAL XI expect offers in the range of $2-$3 per tournament when he becomes a free agent.
Not The Present You Wanted
Dustin Hamilton - Currently under a $15 / 2 tournament contract with underdogs (1 tournament left)
Right now Dustin is pitching professionally in Australia... But apparently basball is vastly different from wiffleball because midway through JAL IX he was benched as the starting pitcher for the underdogs.
When it became known Dustin was joining the JAL he was prematurely crowned god. Every team wanted to sign him, but in the end it was Silver Lake that inked him to the $15 / 2 tournament deal, which at the time made him the highest paid player in the league.
Dustin didn't live up to the hype at pitcher, but was certainly very productive in the field and especially at batter, recording 4 home runs, a BA of .400 and ultimately winning the JAL IX Batting Crown. For Cathy, this was like asking for a new toy for Christmas, but getting last years edition. Not exactly what you wanted, but a nice present nonetheless.
Like was mentioned, Dustin isn't around and won't be again until this summer. When he returns there's still one tournament left on his deal, so if by then Cathy can find him a complementary teammate there's still hope Silver Lake could finally win a championship.