Monday, December 13, 2004


Homer: I'll buy her that pony she's always bugging me for.
Marge: We can't afford to buy a pony.
Homer: Marge, with today's gasoline prices, we can't afford not to buy a pony.
-- from "Lisa's Pony," Simpsons, Season 3

So Richie Sexson may or may not have a contract with the Seattle Mariners. For anywhere from 3 to 5 years, $10 million a year or more. For a sample view of the reaction, check out Jeff's thoughts at Leone For Third. (Hint: when people hope the prospective big free agent signing fails the physical, it's not going over well with the fan base.)

By the way, Jeff's graphs here are a nice overview of the free agent signings as of last week. "What seems to be taking place is that, in the absence of many bargain free agents, the market for midlevel players has ballooned."

So, to take Homer's logic, with today's pony prices (bargain free agents), we can't afford not to buy gasoline (midlevel players). Teams that want to engage in a game of high stakes poker with Scott Boras and other teams for a chance at superstar-like players such as Beltran may get a relative bargain somewhere down the line, but most of the teams seem willing to fold their hands, take their losses (and one-time All-Stars and #2 pitchers), and move on.

By the way, thanks to Studes' article on fair market value, as it's a good article, plus it has a link to an article on the D-Backs' "sudden" financial resurgence. It has bugged me to no end to listen to national media and bloggers (and even some local media) express shock that the D-Backs can suddenly afford $78 million in contracts. (Note: As of this morning, the Ortiz contract still wasn't confirmed; perhaps waiting to see what happened in the very short Rule 5 Draft in case they needed a spot on the 40-man roster.) It's as if people are suddenly discovering… hey, wait, they had new investors! Hey, wait, you mean they're losing $35+ million of contracts after the 2004 season?!! They may not be investing that money wisely, but nobody should be confused about where the money's coming from.

Finally, MLB.com is reporting that Royce Clayton's potential contract would be a one-year deal. That's a glimmer of hope. (One year alone, perhaps that spurs Cintron to work harder; as he seemed to play harder last year when his job was in jeopardy.) If Counsell is signed, that would leave a potential infield of:
1B: Hillenbrand
2B: Counsell
SS: Clayton
3B: Glaus
With Kata, Cintron, Hammock, and Tracy coming off the bench. It sure seems like Hillenbrand's days with the organization are numbered.

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