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Thread: Should free agency change?

  1. #1
    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Should free agency change?

    I'm looking at the multiple Joey Votto threads along with other threads pertaining to free agency. I was going to ask this question but thought I would start a new thread because it probably should be discussed more in detail.

    As I understand (please correct me if I'm wrong), clubs have control of a player for seven years when they hit the majors. Do you think baseball should shorten that time frame? The reason why I ask is because most players, when their years are up for their club and become a free agent, they are already at the point where a long term contract is a bit risky for a club. When those players hit free agency, most players fall into that age 27-30 range. Most players want long term contracts but many clubs, except for the superwealthy clubs, won't shell out the money for a guy that will turn 35 plus at the tail end of that contract. Do you all think that seven years is too long to be in control of a player, just right, or not enough? I would like your thoughts.
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  3. #2
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Should free agency change?

    It is six years, not seven.

    I don't think they should change free agency, but do think they should change the pay structure. Right now, good players get royally screwed out of a ton of money in their first six years when compared to what a free agent gets paid if he performed exactly the same way.

    I think players should be paid for how they perform and how they are expected to perform. The problem with that is, not every team is created equally when it comes to finances, so theoretically a team who simply has a bunch of really young players who are all really good too, couldn't afford to pay them all if they were a small market team.

    If there were a way to get players paid for what they are likely to perform, rather than how they did perform, it would really even things out and make contracts for the guys in that 28-30 range a lot more sensible, but until finances are closer to fair for all teams, that can't ever happen.

    Baseball isn't going to change anytime soon in that regard though.

  4. #3
    All work and no play..... Vottomatic's Avatar
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    Re: Should free agency change?

    No. I think the owners should quit signing these free agents for 7 to 10 years. It's stupid. Quit doing it and Boras and other agents will quit asking for it. These guaranteed contracts that take a player to 37 to 40 years old are just plain stupid, and frankly I hope the teams that do it regret it down the road. Once a player hits 34 or 35, it's the rare player that continues to produce at a high level.
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  5. #4
    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: Should free agency change?

    I think most teams realize when they sign a player to a long-term contract they are going to get most of the value in the first couple years of the deal. They know they will be paying more than he is worth for the last few years of the deal.

    For example, the Angels signed Albert Pujols to a 10 year $255 million deal. They will essentially be paying Pujols $25 million per year for each of the next 10 years. However, they are expecting to get probably $60 million in value from him in 2012 (on-field production, fan excitement and marketing benefits included), then maybe $40 million in 2013 and $30 million in 2014 etc on down to maybe only $5-10 million in the last couple years. Yes they will be overpaying by a wide margin at the end of the deal, but they will already have reaped the benefits in the early portion of the deal. The final years are too expensive, but the early years are a real bargain. That is the reasoning they used to justify the contract.

    If Pujols had agreed to a 4 year deal he could likely have gotten close to $180-200 million just for those 4 years I would bet. Everyone knows those early seasons are going to be much more valuable (and expensive) than the last several seasons.

  6. #5
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: Should free agency change?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vottomatic View Post
    No. I think the owners should quit signing these free agents for 7 to 10 years. It's stupid. Quit doing it and Boras and other agents will quit asking for it. These guaranteed contracts that take a player to 37 to 40 years old are just plain stupid, and frankly I hope the teams that do it regret it down the road. Once a player hits 34 or 35, it's the rare player that continues to produce at a high level.
    Yeah, but if they stop doing it all together, then we'll hear "collusion" screamed at the top of their lungs.
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    Re: Should free agency change?

    The only way they will ever shorten the FA entitlement period is if they have a salary cap.

    Small market teams already get screwed out of the best players for a large part of their career. Shortening that period will make it entirely impossible for a small market team to contend. At least now they have 6 years.

  8. #7
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Should free agency change?

    It's odd that of all the things players and owners have fought over, the basic structure of free agency has been unchanged and largely unchallenged since 1976. I think there's a recognition that the player should have the opportunity to choose his own team while he's still young enough for it to matter; at the same time, the club is entitled to a significant period of control (and at a discount) because of the investment of time and money in getting players to the majors in the first place. The side effect is that younger players are underpaid and veterans are often overpaid, but most everyone seems to be fine with the arrangement. Probably because the ones who are most underpaid when they're young are the ones most likely to be overpaid shortly thereafter.
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