Monday, February 9, 2009

Off Season Winners: 2007 Free Agent Class

Chalk it up to timing. I can just imagine the agent's of mid level free agents in this year's market kicking themselves for getting their clients a contract that was just one year too long. This year's market has been that bad.

How else can we explain Francisco Rodriguez getting a 3 year/$36 million dollar contract with the Mets in 2008 while the inferior Francisco Cordero scored a 4 year/$46 million dollar contract with the frugal Cincinnati Reds? If Rodriguez was on the market in 2007, he probably would have gotten a 5 or 6 year deal.

Chalk it up to a terrible economy. Who is their right mind could have predicted that we would experience a global economic recession at the end of 2008? So many of us believed that baseball was immune to the economy, but this off season has been proof to the contrary.

How else can we explain how Oliver Perez, a 27 year old lefty with ace stuff, got a 3 year/$36 million dollar contract from the Mets while Carlos Silva, an overweight fourth starter, got a $4 year/$48 million dollar contract with the Mariners in 2007. If Perez was on the market in 2007, he would have gotten offers in the 4-5 year range easily.

Chalk it up to competition. The 2007 free agent class aside from A-Rod was one of the worst free agent classes in recent memory. You know your in trouble when Carlos Silva is the best pitcher on the market. The 2008 free agent class was littered with all stars and quality players, all of whom were looking to cash in on big seasons. Obviously, with the economic crisis, some players were going to be fresh outta luck when negotiating with teams.

How else can we explain how Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu remain unsigned while the far inferior Jose Guillen somehow obtained a 3 year/$36 million dollar contract from the cash strapped Royals in 2007? If Dunn or Abreu were on the market in 2007, each guy would have had no problem getting a deal in 4-6 year range.

Or maybe we should chalk it up to stupid luck. In the current market, teams who have been affected by the current economic crisis have elected to either not spend as much, spend wiser, or not increase payroll. But in the good ole' days of 2007, teams (not named the Yankees) were willing to increase payroll and go on a foolish and lavish spending spree.

How else can we explain Orlando Hudson having no suitors in 2009 while the inferior Luis Castillo received a 4 year/$26 million dollar contract from the Mets? The Castillo contract is the definition of foolish. How lucky is Castillo that he was a free agent in 2007 and not in 2008? He would have been lucky to get a two year deal in this market.

You have to feel somewhat bad for guys like Dunn, Abreu, and Hudson right now. I know it's difficult to feel bad for multi-millionaires when it comes to money, but these guys have done nothing wrong except become free agents at the wrong time. Instead of capitalising on their success, these guys will likely have to take a fraction of what they deserve.

Even for millionaires, that's not right.

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