Thursday, November 18, 2004

Early Signings 

Both Dave at USS Mariner and Trent at Leone for Third have entries today that talk about what effect the high dollar signings of mediocre free agents have on the future price of the premiere free agents.
Omar Vizquel: 3 years, $12 million
Cory Lidle: 2 years, $6 million
Cristian Guzman: 4 years, $17 million
Vinny Castilla: 2 years, $6 million
Troy Percival: 2 years, $12 million
These numbers have to scare anyone about what Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, or even Edgar Renteria might be worth. But as those bloggers point out, even though it strenghtens the arguments agents have to value a player highly, teams can't spend what they don't have. And now there are even fewer teams out there with cash to bid on the top free agents.

As you know, I'm a big fantasy baseball geek, so I equate this to the action of bidding $1 on a player you absolutely don't want, just to suck money out of some other team that might bid on a player that you actually DO want. In fantasy, there is a salary cap, and while there isn't a cap in the real world, most teams have budget constraints that they must work under.

So this is good news, then? Not so fast. Look at the owners you've suckered before you begin cheering. None of the buyers are actually teams that we fear taking one of our players. Okay, maybe the Phillies would have spent money on a Matt Clement, but otherwise, we have not sapped resources from some of our main competitors (Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Angels, Dodgers). So far, these are the perennial also-rans of baseball, and of free agency. Limited resources that they are burning up on mediocre talent.

Now, if the Yankees sign Pedro for 4 yr/$60 million, and the Red Sox counter by signing Carl Pavano to 6 year/ $60 million, then we can start to get really excited. Then, some serious competitors for the big free agents will have a little less ammo in his arsenal for bagging the free agents we want.

For the most part, these early signings will have no impact on your 2005 Seattle Mariners, except that it removes from Bill Bavasi the temptation to sign one of the above mediocrities or aging stars. And that is the best news of all.

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