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Spend crazy winter

By Mark M Drewe     Nov 24, 2006 in Sports
Why are baseball's free agents receiving such huge contract this year?
I've been a baseball fan all my life, and I've noticed a frightening trend in the free-agent world this year - why are these players worth so much?
I can buy the arguments about inflation in general, as contracts seem to be hitting all-time highs in pretty much every sport right now. And in that way, it somewhat explains baseball's contracts this year.
But... it's not the stars that are just getting the huge contracts. So far this year, I've watched Alfonso Soriano sign a 135 million dollar deal with the Cubs - while they signed Aramis Ramirez to a 73 million dollar deal before. These aren't surprising - after all, they were touted to be the best of the available players this year.
But they started the frenzy - all of the sudden, I watched with my jaw dropping as Juan Pierre followed their lead and signed a 44 million dollar contract worth 8-9 million a year.
Back up. Juan Pierre? He's a good player, but definitely not worth more than 4 million a year. He hits 3 homers a year, doesn't drive in runs, and doesn't walk. He can hit for contact and steal bases. Hardly worth the contract he got...
But then Gary Mathews Jr signed another massive deal worth 50 million, at 10 million a year. He's even less deserving of a large contract, especially he's touted for "power" and only hit 19 round-trippers last year. He does a little better driving in runs, at a league-average 72, but he's getting all-star calibur money.
And so many more have signed for large deals - Frank Thomas, Nomar Garciaparra, Justin Speier, and so on.
I tried to discover the reasoning behind the market inflation - and it's partially due to the fact that there isn't a whole lot of "elite' players this year like there have been in previous years. This causes some inflation, but even still, their value has nearly doubled in just one year. A quick snoop finds this article that outlines what I'm talking about: Here.
What I can't understand is the kind of desperation that the GMs are showing. They're almost all throwing money around like they're the Yankees, while the actual Yanks haven't really done much.
In a way, the prices are understandable because baseball is experiencing it's best fan turnout in history, and making the most money it ever has - and so it's natural to turn that to the players, but it's not an explanation for the inflation that's happened.
It seems to me that the GMs in a few years will suddenly be throwing a lot of these players on the trading block, hoping that someone will cover for their horrible mistake in the contracts. Meanwhile, it'll be the players that suffer - even though they're bringing in their "golden age" of contracts. I thought that when A-Rod signed the 252 million dollar contract 6 years ago, baseball vowed never to make such stupid financial decisions again.
And all of the sudden, it feels like we're back to square one. Let's just hope that these players start breaking a ton of records, because they're getting paid like they have the talent to.
More about Baseball, Contracts, Sports, Free agents
 
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