View Full Version : Ramifications of the new CBA

10-31-2006, 11:24 PM
A very interesting read and very insightful to perhaps what we might see this off-season.

Say hello to bargaining power! Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The luxury-tax threshold can be read like baseball's Dow Jones index, and when some executives heard over the weekend that the new threshold will climb a whopping 9 percent to $148 million -- and all the way to $178 million in 2011 -- they agreed that there is going to be a whole lot of money in the days and years ahead to sign free agents and lock up young players to long-term deals.
Some of the immediate implications:

1. The value of productive first- and second-year players -- especially pitchers -- climbs dramatically. Thirty years ago, you needed to trade four or five prospects to land a veteran like Tom Seaver or Vida Blue. Now you might have to trade four veterans to land a young pitching talent like Justin Verlander.

In recent years, teams have been reluctant to trade major league ready prospects -- the Red Sox have hung onto Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, etc. -- because of the incredible value and flexibility gained from paying a Papelbon $400,000 rather than having to give a veteran a three-year, $21 million deal to do the same job.

Well, now those kinds of young players will be almost untouchable. Want to talk about Tigers prospect Humberto Sanchez? Hah. The Giants' Matt Cain? No way. The Yankees' Philip Hughes, the team's top pitching prospect, may now be that organization's most valuable asset, above and beyond A-Rod, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

2. The class of free agents about to hit the market is about to become very rich. Jeff Suppan, the starter for the Cardinals in Wednesday night's Game 4, might have been in the Matt Clement-Eric Milton range three winters ago (three years, $21 million to $25 million). Now he might get a bigger contract -- in the Ben Sheets-Johan Santana range of four years and $40 million. "Teams have money and they are going to pay for pitching," one GM said Tuesday night. "That is the ultimate seller's market." A few months ago, scouts and executives speculated that a talent like Daisuke Matsuzaka might get a $30 million to $40 million deal (beyond the initial posting fee). Now it may be a whole lot more than that.

3. Some veteran players already under contract with one or two years left on their deals will look like bargains. It's a slam dunk now that the Yankees will pick up the $13 million option on Gary Sheffield; Torii Hunter on a one-year, $12 million deal option, just exercised by the Twins, is a tremendous deal.

4. The decisions made by some teams in the past 12 months suddenly look very different. The four-year, $47 million contract given to B.J. Ryan by the Blue Jays, once considered near madness by rivals, appears to be a very solid deal. Boston's insistence that Johnny Damon was a $10 million-a-year player? Major mistake, because within a couple of years, the back end of Damon's deal is going to look very reasonable, once peers like Vernon Wells start getting $16 million to $17 million contracts.

This is a labor agreement that even teams like the Orioles can love, writes Rick Maese.