Are the early signers really better off?

In yesterday’s People in my Neighborhood post I mentioned Jorge Says No!’s piece about the early signers getting better deals this offseason. Sam Miller at the OC Register’s Angels Blog takes issue:

Josh at the excellent Jorge Says No has begun running down winners and losers among off-season free agents, and spots a trend that others are picking up on: The free agents who signed early got the best deals . . . Problem is, that’s not really true.

After some fancy-schmancy number crunching, Miller concludes:

Once our impressions get set on something, those impressions tend to persist. The impression of 2008-09 is that it is a terrible market for free agents, and it’s getting worse as the season approaches. It’s true, it is a terrible off-season for free agents — something that the very first signing of the winter already pointed to. The only evidence it’s getting worse is in the leaked rumors about the crazy-low figures some players might have to settle for. But those contracts aren’t signed yet, and those rumors could be complete fiction. Shoot, Oliver Perez just got a pretty sweet deal for a mediocre pitcher who hasn’t been worth $10 million since 2004. As far as the players who have actually signed, the downward spiral has yet to kick in.

As Rob likes to say, I link, you decide.

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  1. go zips said...

    i love how getting $36 million for three years is ‘off.’ or sabathia getting a contract (23 mil per) the size of the national debt or burnett’s contract (16 mil per) or texeiera’s contract (22 mil per). or kerry wood’s contract (10 mil per). or carl pavano’s contract (5 mil per). hell, that guy hasn’t pitched since the clinton administration. (bill’s not hilary’s). or derek lowe’s contract (15 mil per). or rafael furcal’s contract (10 mil per).  dmepster? 13 mil per. bradley? 10 mil per.

    that’s $124,000,000 for THIS YEAR ALONE. everyone but tex and cc are guaranteed to spent at least a month on the dl.

    if this is a bad market, i shoulda spent more time at the batting cages.

  2. themarksmith said...

    While I agree that this market isn’t quite as bad as people are making it out to be, Josh is probably still right. Just because players are still holding out hope doesn’t mean they’ll get the deals they want. Teams are “strapped” (I put in quotations as the ramifications haven’t been seen yet) and are refusing to pay. If no one pays, the price for those players has to come down. They can choose to retire or sit out and get better contracts after the season starts, but if they do that, doesn’t that show this market is worse than in past years?

    Also, while $12M is a lot of money, Silva made that much and got more years, and most probably would agree that Perez is better, or at least perceived to be that way. Two years ago, Perez likely would have made more money and gotten more years. While they are still making a lot of money (yes we’d all like to be part of this market), are they making as much as they would have in years past? The question isn’t are they making enough. It’s are they making as much money as they would have if the economy, etc. was better.

    Still, why are there free-agents still available and why have the ones signed taken (possibly) less money and years? Is the economy the one really affecting the contracts? Or are teams getting smarter and learning how to use the media, new metrics, etc. to start winning some free-agent battles? Or is the free-agent market just that much better than previous years, thus reducing prices? Or is it a combination?

  3. Breaker said...

    I don’t think you can say Ibanez will be better off than Abreu or Dunn until you know the whole story. 

    If Dunn signs for 1 year at $8 million, then hits his typical .240/.350/.525 with 40 homers and signs a 3 year deal for $46 million after 2009, who will be better off, Dunn or Ibanez?

  4. go zips said...

    ibanez is better off. while dunn may make more money, dunn risks injury, hitting even lower or even gaining more weight. plus, there may be other free agents that next year who are better in many more ways than adam dunn.

    ibanez has the security of the contract while dunn must guard against injury, etc. to get the second deal.

  5. VanderBirch said...


    I think its a combination. There are a lot more teams getting savvy about defense and starting to more correctly value players like Abreu (the Phils aside). Still, I think if there was a little more money floating around, we’d see a few more overpriced signings.

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