Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Next Year's Free Agent Class Will Not Be Great

One of the things you hear people say when they are grasping at straws to justify the Mets' terrible offseason is, "It is okay they didn't spend much, because next year's free agent class is going to be so much better!"

The Sporting News had an entire article devoted to wondering why the buzz wasn't GREATER, saying that "the class of major leaguers eligible to become free agents next year is every bit as star-studded as that in the NBA [with LeBron James]."

ESPN Radio's Rick Coutinho mentions some of the players who make the 2010-2011 class stronger:

Next year's free agent class could include players like Derek Lee, Josh Beckett, Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Brandon Webb, Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez, Javier Vazquez, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera.
Let's help him out and add a few other names to the list. Information courtesy of the invaluable Cot's Contracts:

Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena, J.J. Hardy, Joe Mauer (until the extension is official), Pat Burrell, Jayson Werth, Joe Blanton, Tim Hudson.
But let us be real here. How many of those guys are going to reach free agency? You are crazy if you think Cliff Lee, Crawford, Webb, Jeter, Rivera, or Mauer are going to reach free agency. Manny Ramirez will be 39 in 2011. Derrek Lee will be 35 in 2011 and has only hit more than 23 home runs ONCE in the last four years. Hudson? Always injured. Burrell? Done. Blanton? Next year's Garland. Vazquez? Will be 34. Dunn? Nobody wanted him when he WAS a free agent!!

It is easy to look at contracts which are expiring in a year and assume that those players will be available - but it is silly to do so. Most star players are locked up by their teams (Pujols, Mauer, Wright, Longoria, Verlander, Felix) or traded to a team that can give them the extension that they want (Santana, Halladay, Cabrera).

There will be one or two studs available next year in free agency. There will be a cast of supporting guys just like this year who are old (Smoltz), or injury prone (Sheets), or average (Marquis). At that time, the 2011-2012 class will look better than the current one.

I know the grass is always greener on the other side, but that's not a reason to clap the Mets on the back for their bad offseason. I wish more people would realize that we have some generational talents on our team already (Reyes, Beltran, Wright, Santana) rather than idolize that which we cannot have.


Rob A from BBD said...

I disagree, I think next year's free agent class is as good a free agent class as you are going to get. I mean, if it is bad, which one is good?

Also, the "don't worry the Mets didn't spend a lot and next year's free agent class is going to be great" line is a pure excuse. This Mets offseason is about as bad as you can get for such a large market team.

Brian said...

That's kind of my point -- next year's class might be marginally better than this year, but the free agent class is NEVER what people expect it to be.

The FA class from last year, with both Sabathia and Teixiera was kind of an outlier. I'm sure the 2009-2010 free agent class looked pretty good the previous January too.