And once a second one of these Perfect Storm deals is approved by the commissioner’s office, we should assume it will not stop at a twice-in-a-lifetime occurrence. After all, so many teams are awash in and planning to spend money this offseason that it is just a matter of time, perhaps, that the clubs that sign Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke will be looking to bundle one of them with a few other pieces to regain financial solvency and sanity.
Do you think it is impossible that, at some point, the Reds recognize that their market might not allow them to have $300 million invested long term in Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips? That the Yankees, with Alex Rodriguez, or the Phillies, with Ryan Howard, are forced to package some goodies with a terrible contract to make those odious pacts vanish? That the Rockies are combining Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to see what kind of 10-prospect, financial-relief uber-deal can be fashioned?
Three months ago, I would have thought any of that impossible. But now that I have seen baseball’s version of both The Perfect Storm and its sequel, well, the third installment is not likely to take me by surprise.
I’m not so sure. Sherman is focusing on the side of the equation that wants to dump, but I don’t think we’re seeing anything new there. Saying that a team would like to dump a big contract in the out years or one they wish they’d never signed in the first place is hardly revolutionary stuff. Rather, the thing that makes these deals happen is having a willing buyer who sees value in them, so the Yankees dumping Alex Rodriguez or the Reds moving an over the hill Joey Votto down the road isn’t any more likely now than it’s ever been, and th Yankees aren’t going to give away good players just to get rid of the contract either. The perfect storm scenario requires a certain mix: a dumper who isn’t competitive and wants to free upmoney, and a “dumpee” who thinks they’re acquiring players who can help them compete in the short run.
That said, I actually am sort of surprised at the allocation the Blue Jays are making here. The Dodgers deal was one thing, because we knew they had money and wanted to spend it on a PR boost to get past the Frank McCourt era, but there was no indication that the Blue Jays, or any other team, were looking to make such a huge acquisition of payroll. In theory, that shouldn’t happen: Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle were both on the open market last year, and the Marlins bid more than any other team for their services. You aren’t supposed to be able to turn around and move that money to someone who wasn’t interested in paying that to begin with, but yet we’ve seen it happen twice in the last four months. Why? My guess it’s the influx in television money, including the $25 million every team is set to get from MLB’s national television contracts. That’s bound to change the landscape, and in the short term we might find more fringe contenders willing to take on the best players on last place teams while returning real value in the process.
But the Yankees are still stuck with A-Rod.