First, familiarize yourself with the rules for contracts at: http://www.benchwarmerbaseball.net/rules/rulespages/Rules_16_0_Contracts.asp
And keep these things in mind:
- To correct a misconception several people have had...you don't need to sign someone to a contract to keep him for 2010. You will get to keep up to 28 players from your roster in November - contract or not.
- You must have ALL the cash to pay the ENTIRE contract up front. And once you spend the money, you will NEVER get it back.
- Above all, the contract is a salary/cap play, not so much a roster move. You're betting that the player's salary will go up so much that it's better to lock him up for the same salary now rather than pay his inflated salary next season.
- Since salaries are based on performance, if you sign someone in March and he is injured in April and out the rest of the season, you would almost certainly have been better off paying his salary next season...and there's no reason to sign a player who won't even see the major leagues this season or not until August or September.
- You have until the end of July to make contracts.
So, why even do it now? Well, teams in returning leagues can only take 5 million in cash into the new season. You will lose any cash above 5 million that you have left after the Week Zero transactions. If you don't use it for signing new free agents in the next few weeks, well, it might be worth a gamble then to do a contract or two.
For BRAND NEW leagues, you're not subject to this 5 million cash limit. You should hang on to your cash and wait to sign contracts later in the summer.