Just fishing for a little education here. Using CC's situation as a hypothetical (as opposed to flogging the dead beast), is there anything in baseball's CBA, luxury tax rules, or anything else, that would prevent a team from frontloading the money in a contract, similar to a signing bonus? What I'm getting at is mid-to-small market teams being able to unload some current-year contracts (if possible) in order to offer a bigger first year, thereby inflating the per-year averages of a contract and making it more enticing.
I'm not necessarily speaking of a situation like CC, where years appear to be the issue, rather a situation where the per-year money is the issue. The reason I ask is because I just don't see it very often. Johan's contract was typical, increasing in value over time. It seems there is some incentive for a team to take a one-year financial hit if it puts the team in a better position two or three years down the line. It also seems to open up a large avenue for creative financing.
Obviously not every team would be able to carve salary without hurting their depth, but some (cough, journeymen platoons, cough, utility-men) could. OK, I admit it, I'm talking about CC (one last kick of the carcass - I can't help it, I'm in law school).
What would the Tribe have to offer to convince him to drop the 5th year, and would it be worth it? The Tribe caved and offered Manny $20 million per year, but for less years than the Sox. Would up-front money have gotten the deal done? The saddest thing about this post is that I'm not even convinced CC is worth the money.