You can trade for guys that have contracts. You can exceed 8 years as a result of that trade. You only have to count to 8 on Retention Day. Given most contracts are for such short periods of time, it is never an issue. If you have made trades that put you in excess of the 8 years on retention day, you are penalized 1 draft pick for every year you are over starting in the first round. 1 Year over = a first rounder. 2 Years over = a 1st and a 2nd, etc.
Even in your example of trading for Braun with a 7 year deal (which becomes 6 years remaining on Retention Day), I am penalized a draft pick.
This is only the second year of assigning contracts and there have been about 4-5 examples of players given 3 years. There has never been a 4 or greater.
Or what if two contenders try to snag Beltran and Manny and hand off a keeper each who'd have 3 years after this season... do you make it like an NBA trade where the 'contracts have to match up'?
Nope...The contract years go with them. Another point is if a player is released, the team is on the hook for those years UNLESS that player is picked up or drafted. The new owner is responsible for those years. Here are the rules as they are written...
8. Retention Policy:
Each team has a total of 8 Contract Years (CY) to distribute every
year on Retention Day (around March 1). With these years, you may lock-up players to contracts. Length of contract is, in part, dictated by how many Contract Years (CY) you have at your disposal (in the case of the first year, you will have 8 Contract Years (CY) at your disposal).
Super Easy Example:
Let's say you have the 2006 Boston Red Sox for your FBL team. Now, fast
forward to Retention Day, 2007 (most likely March 1). You have 8 years of Contract Years (CY) to give out.
Retention Day, 2007
Ortiz for 4 Contract Years (CY)
Manny for 2 Contract Years (CY)
Beckett for 2 Contract Years (CY)
That is a total of 8 Contract Years (CY)
This means that you have:
Ortiz signed on my team for 07', 08', 09', 10'
Manny signed on my team for 07', 08'
Beckett signed on my team for 07', 08'
Important note: Unless released and picked up, (see release rules) these players are now going to be free agents at the end of their contracts Ortiz will be available in 2011, Manny will be available in 2009 and Beckett will be available in 2009. In other words, these players can be available no later then Draft Day, 2011; Draft Day, 2009; and Draft Day 2009, respectively.
Now, fast forward to Retention Day, 2008
On this date I have ON MY TEAM:
Ortiz for 3 Contract Years (CY)
Manny for 1 Contract Years (CY)
Beckett for 1 Contract Years (CY)
That means you've used 5 Contract Years (CY) and you have 3 CY to
distribute. You will give them to this guy you drafted in the FBL 2007 draft named Coco Crisp.
- or -
Coco Crisp 3 Contract Years (CY)
That means on Retention Day, 2008, I have:
Ortiz signed on my team for 08', 09', 10'
Manny signed on my team for 08'
Beckett signed on my team for 08'
Crisp signed on my team for 08', 09' 10'
So, on Retention Day (March 1) 2008, you are not allowed to have more
then 8 CY tied to your team.
In the above example, the team is "clean". With trades, it is unlikely, but possible a team could have more then 8 CY on the Retention Day (March 1, 2008). If a team, as a result of a trade, ends up with more then 8 CY on Retention Day, the penalty is a draft pick per round in the FORTHCOMING DRAFT for every CY a team is over 8 CY on Retention Day 2008.
Releasing a player who is under contract.
Even though you may release a player who you have under contract, your team is still responsible for those contract years. The commish will log these contract years and publicize them on the web site, helping to ensure accuracy. If that player is picked up by another franchise, the years “go with that player” to the other team and the old team is no longer responsible for the contract years.
(In the event the player is not picked up by another team prior to the next draft, that player becomes eligible for the draft with no contract years attached. If the player goes undrafted, the former team is still responsible for those years. If the player is drafted by the team he was released from, the contract years are treated as though he was never released.)
You may name one player a "FRANCHISE" player; you keep him for his contract years, but at THIS season's price for the life of the contract. You may never possess more then 1 franchise player on your squad at one time. This does not limit your ability to trade for another team's franchise player, although the franchise status is removed from player once added to a team who possesses a franchise player already. The newly-added player's dollar value immediately jumps to book value and the owner is on the hook for that player's remaining contract years.