Olney On The Free Agent Market

ESPN’s Buster Olney has a great blog post up today with his musings about this winter’s free agent market.  Let’s take a look.

  • Industry people believe the current state of the economy might temper offseason spending.  We’ve already heard the rumblings that typically high-spending teams like the Angels, Tigers and Mariners backing off or holding the line on payroll.
  • Olney feels C.C. Sabathia could draw a $140MM offer from the Yankees, but something more in the $90-100MM range from the Angels or Dodgers.  So he may have to decide whether playing close to home is worth $30-50MM.
  • Olney extols the virtues of Derek Lowe, who could get a deal comparable to Jason Schmidt‘s three years/$47MM.  That was two years, ago though…I think Scott Boras gets Lowe $18MM a year.
  • Olney considers this a strong market for starting pitching.  Maybe so, but we might see a lot of multiyear deals for injury-risk hurlers after Sabathia and Lowe sign.
  • Olney likes the match between the Cardinals and Brian Fuentes.  Other teams that could consider Fuentes: the Rays, Indians, and Brewers.
  • Olney is convinced the Yankees will offer Bobby Abreu arbitration but nothing more.  Abreu is comfortably set to earn Type A status.  If the Yanks offer arbitration, they’ll either get Abreu for one year and $16MM or so or they’ll get two draft picks.  In contrast, Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman have said they expect the Yankees to let Abreu leave.
  • Olney guesses the Red Sox will offer Jason Varitek two guaranteed years with a vesting option for 2011.  The Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin wrote in August that she expects Varitek to re-sign.

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