Well, I don’t think anyone predicted this. 5 days into free agency, and we’ve had five rather, uhh, strange signings. We’re getting a sixth tomorrow when Arizona gives Royce Clayton a two year contract. A brief rundown:
Keep in mind, it was just five months ago that Carlos Guillen signed a three year, $15 million extension, passing up his first shot at free agency, to remain a Detroit Tiger. Carlos Guillen was worth about seven wins above replacement this year; Cristian Guzman one. Somehow, Guzman parlays that into a longer contract at just a bit less in annual value. And the Guzman signing is probably the most defensible of the bunch, honestly.
So, a few hours ago, I’m talking with a friend who works in a non-Mariners front office about this rash of deals. I express a bit of worry that these low-to-mid-tier players are setting a market value that will raise the rates the upper echelon players will expect to receive. His response, which I think is important (not word for word quote, since we were just talking):
“I disagree. I think this helps us sign (Player X) for less, actually. These guys aren’t setting the market; they’re simply allocating resources to players we weren’t going to pursue anyways. The supply of attractive free agents for us hasn’t changed one bit, but the amount of teams that will be pursuing them has probably dropped by two. Less demand, less leverage. Don’t worry about these signings; we’re still sticking to what we believe is an intelligent offer, and we’re glad that those who feel like overspending are doing so on guys we didn’t want anyways. (My GM) isn’t bound to match contracts given out by (Bowden, Dombrowski, Minaya, and Sabean). If (the agent) says that Omar is worth $4 million a year so (Player X) is now worth $15 million, I’ll gladly tell them to go ask Sabean for $15 million. He knows that he can’t, and so do we. This is good news, not bad news.”
He knows the baseball market, and how team’s operate, a lot better than I do, and what he says makes sense. So, his advice to me is my advice to you; don’t worry, be happy.