Written by Maury Brown
Thursday, 11 December 2008 12:15
The MLB winter meetings revealed that this year, maybe more than any in recent memory, you can't paint the free agent market with the same brush. Things are rarely as simple as they seem.
The economy dominated discussions at the winter meetings, and yet, the Yankees have all but finalized an agreement with C.C. Sabathia to the largest contract ever granted a pitcher (7 years, $161 million, with an opt-out clause), and the Washington Nationals have reportedly offered Mark Teixeira seven years and $150 million.
And that's just for starters.
The Yankees are reportedly chasing Derek Lowe and Mike Cameron. The Mets landed Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz.
The common theme? Large markets.
The economy is going to be impacting all of the clubs, just some to a lesser extent. Certainly, sponsorship dollars should be down across the board as witnessed by General Motors backing out of their deal with the Pirates after only one year.
Some clubs may simply stand pat this year, regardless of there needs simply due to the fact that it's exceptionally difficult to know how revenues will be from season ticket renewals and single game sales until possibly April or May. "Cautionary" was a word said often by execs.
Look for trades to continue to be the soup de jour (as it was last season). With that, it may be that the biggest deals this season might not occur until around the July 31 trade deadline.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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