Is The Mega Free Agent Era Over?

Take a look at this list of potential free agents after this season, courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.  Go ahead…I’ll wait.

*Checks e-mail, *Checks to see if Alen Hanson hit another HR, *Checks MLB Trade Rumors

Factoring in that Howie Kendrick and Ian Kinsler signed new contracts and will be taken off this list, plus the fact that the Yankees will most assuredly pick up Curtis Granderson’s option, the only interesting position player free agent is Josh Hamilton.  And with his…uh…”issues”, I can’t see any team offering him a massive deal.

Among the starting pitchers, the big names are Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels (Matt Cain recently signed a deal and will no longer be on this list).  I believe that at least one of Greinke or Hamels will not hit free agency.  Pitchers like Dan Haren and James Shields will have their options picked up, even if they may be possibly traded in the offseason, which is the prevailing rumor about Shields.

There are plenty of “very good” players on that list, but not many difference makers.  With all 30 teams making an effort to keep their players in the fold longer, to the point that teams are signing players like Carlos Santana and Jose Tabata after very minimal experience in the majors, it makes me wonder if the era of having a plethora of premium free agents hit the market during their prime years is over.  The use of revenue sharing money (as rumored with the Joey Votto deal with the Reds) and local TV revenue deals (the Giants pending TV deal financed Matt Cain) is allowing teams to keep players that they otherwise may not have been able to do in recent years.

If players are routinely getting multiple free agent years bought out and will hit free agency in their early to mid-30’s, we may not see the megamoney free agent deals like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder as frequently as in the past few years.  Of course, the Scott Boras Factor is also in play too.  The uber-agent always urges his clients to test free agency after their 6 years of servitude to their original teams, but as shown with Carlos Gonzalez there are exceptions to that rule, as well.

The Pirates were able to capitalize on the depressed market for mid-tier pitching free agents with Erik Bedard.  Will that be the new direction of the free agent market?  Will the trade market for over-priced players, like A.J. Burnett, in exchange for salary relief be more exploited?

 

 

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John Lease

Even if it is over, too bad the Pirates never joined in on elite talent.

John Lease

Even if it is over, too bad the Pirates never joined in on elite talent.

john.alcorn

As long as Boras is still an agent he will have his guys get to FA early enough to cash in. Then there are elite players like Pujols who still get megadeals in their early 30’s. Increasing revenue in MLB can only lead to higher contracts.

In down FA years the money simply goes to the best of the crop like Werth and Bay, two guy who have no business being in the top 25 highest paid players in MLB.  

john.alcorn

As long as Boras is still an agent he will have his guys get to FA early enough to cash in. Then there are elite players like Pujols who still get megadeals in their early 30’s. Increasing revenue in MLB can only lead to higher contracts.

In down FA years the money simply goes to the best of the crop like Werth and Bay, two guy who have no business being in the top 25 highest paid players in MLB.  

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