Monday, December 6, 2010

I hate to disagree...

I hate to disagree with my esteemed colleague here at BBIMH but I don't think Jayson Werth's contract has any major effect on the market, especially for Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee. Although this is completely non-baseball related, allow me to indulge in a simile. When I was a senior in college, one of my wife's friends received a wedding proposal while on a cruise her fiancee paid for especially for that purpose. At the time, all of my male friends were somewhat irritated with this gentleman for setting the bar a little high for the rest of us. However, when it came time to get engaged, as most of us have, none of us made the call to Carnival or Royal Caribbean. As sensible adults, we simply treated his behavior as an outlier and proceeded about our business in our usual fashion. The teams reasonably in the running for Crawford and/or Lee include the Yankees, Angels, Tigers, Red Sox, and Rangers. Each of these teams is run by more than capable management that will not wilt to market pressure and will offer either player only what they think is reasonable and cost effective for their team. The "But mom, Jimmy's parents let him stay up to 11:30" argument only works on the weak parents or teams and none of those teams are even in the discussion for those players. No contract, no matter how objectionable, and that does include Darren Dreifort's 5 year, 55 Million dollar monstrosity, has ever really meaningfully changed the market for the higher revenue teams.

I would argue that this move has a much greater effect on the weaker sisters of the league. The deal in effect establishes a sort of poor tax leviable against those teams who cannot offer the inducement of postseason success to prospective signers. The teams who should be terrified of this move are the Orioles and Pirates of this world who now are expected to pay an extra 15% or two years to receive the signature of second class free agents like Carl Pavano and Carlos Pena. If we are to see any effect from the Werth deal, it will be in these signings.

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