Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Dominoes Start to Fall

Since we last spoke, Mark DeRosa signed a 2-year, $12 million deal with the Giants, and Jason Bay signed a 4-year, $65 million deal with the Mets.

DeRosa stated he was 'Tired of being someone's Plan B'. That's a veiled shot at the Cardinals, isn't it? You know what? I don't blame him for moving on. Even if he waited until Matt Holliday signed, the odds of Mark DeRosa not playing somewhere next season hovered around 0.000001%; the amount of money he would make next season, however, probably rode an inverse proportion relationship with when he signed. The longer he waited, the more anxious he would get about signing on with someone, and the less money he might have been forced to take to play.

To you and me, the difference between $4 mil and $6 mil is like the difference between apple and watermelon Jolly Ranchers - apple is clearly better than watermelon, but in the end they're both pretty darn good. For a guy trying to maximize his earning power using perishable physical gifts, that's a pretty big difference. So Mark took the best deal with a team he didn't mind playing for. Good for him.

One guy out of the LF sweepstakes.

The Cardinals never expressed real interest in Jason Bay, for which I remain thankful. We've had plenty of decent-bat, no-glove guys patrol that corner (see Gant, Ron; Sanders, Reggie; and Duncan, Chris), and I hoped that pattern wouldn't repeat itself with Bay. The more important outcome of Bay joining the Mets is the price tag. He's to make $16.25 mil per year. Since most observers rank Holliday a better outfielder than Bay, I believe we've just firmly established the floor for the Holliday negotiations.

Boras/Holliday won't accept less than $16.25 million per season to play for the Cardinals. The length of contract, opt-out clause, no-trade protection? All just contract language. First, we must agree on price. Chet Novak posted on Facebook his guess: $17 mil per/8 years. If the $18 million figure bandied about before the season ended becomes the high end of the range for Holliday, this is a completely reasonable guess at a per year cost for his services. But boy, I really hope the Cardinals don't ink him for 8 years. Paying a guy $17 million a year for his age 37-38 seasons seems a tremendous waste of money to me. Should the Cardinals go with a 8-year contract, I'd prefer to see a mutual option each year for the last 3 years written into the contract language. That would at least protect the club should a Vernon Wells-type decline in skill start, and not make the contract a millstone.

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