It’s hard to really know the market right now, as far as free agents go, because so much information is simply speculation and rumor. I find it very interesting though the way the perceived value for certain players has fluctuated.
The early thinking seemed to be “stay away from Burnett and Sheets, those guys will want too much money when they are unreliable, and instead go after a consistent innings guy like Lowe who can be signed cheaper.” Well, because that has been the universal thinking, the market has seemingly corrected itself.
A few days back, I discussed how Lowe went from the cheaper and more reliable Burnett alternative, to a more expensive plan A. Well, the guys at RAB made a great comparison yesterday of Ben Sheets and A.J. Burnett. Sheets has perhaps a worse injury history than Burnett and wasn’t able to finish last season healthy. But as RAB shows, his history isn’t that much worse than Burnett’s; Sheets just didn’t finish 2008 strong like Burnett did.
What I’m ultimately getting at though is this: value relative to the market is everything this offseason. Reading comments from other fans, you usually see “we need to do A, B, and C” type comments, but identifying players is no longer the sole part of the equation.
Once the World Series ended, I would have ranked the potential non-Sabathia starters as follows: 1.Lowe 2. Burnett 3. Sheets.
Lowe wants 4 years at over $16 million per. Burnett wants similar money, maybe even a fifth year. Sheets? Well, there hasn’t been much talk about Sheets’ demands because the demand for has been less so far. What if your options are the following:
1. Lowe for 4 years, $64 million
2. Burnett 5 years, $80 million
3. Sheets, 3 years, $42 million
Isn’t Sheets then the best deal of the bunch? It’s all about buying low and signing short contracts. I’ve heard a rumor that Sheets might want to do a smaller deal and reestablish his value. What if he would do 2 years at 16 per?
Honestly, I never thought I’d be able to talk myself into A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets in the same offseason but I also never expected so many teams to want Derek Lowe.