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SBD/Issue 89/Leagues & Governing Bodies
Surplus Of MLB Free Agents Could Ignite Flurry Of Cheap Signings
Published January 27, 2009
|Teams May Wait On Free Agents In Hopes Of
Signing Players Like Dunn To Low-Risk Deals
It's the economy, stupid: Pirates President Frank Coonelly said of the available free agents, "That's extraordinary, and the reason for it is simple: The economy has collapsed, and the agents for those players still haven't realized that the economy has collapsed. They're still asking for prices based on yesterday's market" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/25). A's Assistant GM David Forst: "No one really knew six weeks ago exactly how the economy was going to affect the market. There are still guys out there that I'm guessing will get decent-sized contracts, but tough decisions have to be made" (MLB.com, 1/23). One agent said, "You want to stand tall as best you can to get that four- or five-year deal for your guy. But ultimately I think the owners have drawn a line in the sand with regard to certain players." Agent Scott Leventhal: "I am confident that things are going to change and that this market is an aberration. I think we'll see a change next year as the economy starts to even itself out" (MLB.com, 1/22). MLB writer Murray Chass said "never before" have so many free agents been available this late in the offseason. Chass: "The economy certainly is a factor, but it's also possible the owners are using the economy as a cover for their own type of collusion" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/25).
Are Teams Colluding To Avoid
Signing Free Agents Like Ramirez?
HOLDING PATTERN: Free agent P Randy Wolf Saturday said that he was "close to re-signing with the Astros in late November when the team abruptly pulled its offer, citing a changing economic climate." Astros GM Ed Wade "confirmed Wolf's account." Wade said the Astros were "fully engaged in negotiations and had to stop," and the withdrawal "had nothing to do with a lack of interest on our part or Randy's part." FOXSPORTS.com's Ken Rosenthal noted Wolf was an "innocent victim of the Astros' sudden cost-cutting -- a shift that could end up costing him $20[M] or more in free agency" (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/25). Meanwhile, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said his team is "in the same boat as everyone else" in regard to free agents. Zduriencik: "You'd like to go out and bring a player or two in. But you have [to] agree on two things -- dollars spent and length of contract. There's a degree of reality that has set in with the current market and the economic times we're in" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 1/22).