Pat Burrell agreed to terms with the Rays, having signed a two-year, $16 million contract Monday.
The Cubs have agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract with free-agent outfielder Milton Bradley.
Why would a Pittsburgh Pirates blog be concerned with the dealings of the Cubs and Rays?
The easiest way to look at this is what these players made in 2008 and who signed them. Burrell's salary in 2008 was $14.25M. Bradley made $5.25M.
The Cubs are morons. They have overpaid for a player who has played in 120+ games twice in a 9 year career. A player who has had anger issues. A player who will mix poorly with Sweet Lou. A player that the Cubs simply outbid themselves for. It sounds like Dave Littlefield had his hand in negotiations.
The Rays signing of Burrell should keep a market down on mid level free agents. Burrell arguably was in the upper echelon of the midlevel free agent list. A player of his caliber signing for $8M a season makes it all the more likely other midlevel free agents will be signing for much less than they were originally asking. This also can't bode well for arbitration eligible players either.
The Pirates have money to spend and the free agent market is finally coming down to earth. There will be a lot of players looking for jobs come February. There will be even more agents wringing their hands over clients they will lose and dollars lost due to the worlds economy affecting baseballs economy as well.
Baldelli, as an example, made $2.25M in limited playing time for the Rays in 2008. Don't expect much of a raise, if any, for Baldelli. Afterall Burrell took a significant pay cut. Baldelli is coming off multiple seasons with a "mystery" ailment that supposedly has been correctly diagnosed as a protein deficiency.
This plays in the Pirates favor, lower cost free agents may allow the team to add some talent to the MLB roster rather than forcing players not ready for the majors to play now. The Pirates are known to be interested in Baldelli, the money may be right for the Pirates considering what Burrell set as the market starting point for midlevel free agents.
Only the Yankees are immune from economic downturns. Man I hate that team.