Baseball On My Brain


The free agent game
October 14, 2008, 1:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

There will be times that I’m going to write things that are pretty much stream of consciousness and don’t provide any answers or solutions. Sometimes I just think about things and want to put them down on paper – or in this case, on the web – and see if it makes any more sense.

With another season of free agency coming up before we know it, I started thinking about the decisions that those free agents will be making.

Let’s say that I’m a free agent, and I’m a catcher. I let it be known that I’m open to accepting offers from any and all teams.

So out of the 30 MLB teams, I have to figure out who will likely be interested in my services. That would mean that a team would have to have both a need for a veteran major league catcher with my skill set, and the money to pay me what I think I deserve.

[As I wrote that, I realized I may need to be more clear about my skills and stats, but let’s see if I can make this work without doing so.]

Let’s say that there are 10 teams who already have a catcher of my caliber locked up in a contract or they are otherwise set at the position, and then there are another 10 teams who can’t afford my salary. So that leaves me 10 teams to negotiate with.

I receive offers from each of those 10 teams, now I have to decide what my #1 priority is to accomplish through this negotiation.

-Is it to get the most money possible?

-Is it to secure a long-term deal, even at the expense of the most dollars?

-Is it to play for a winner, in particular the team that I think has the best chance to win the World Series?

-Is it to play in a certain geographic area?

-Is it to play everyday?

-Is it to be a star?

[This is the dilemma that generated the itch in my brain which turned into this post.]

Clearly I have to figure out just what one (or maybe combination of several) of those priorities will govern my decision making process.

What fascinates and bothers me is that there is no uniformity when it comes to the decision making. Sure, we’d all like to think it would be to win, but we’ve seen plenty of instances where it hasn’t been. Besides, I can’t pay the power bill with wins, but I can pay it with money, so isn’t that what’s ultimately most important?

So let’s say that I believe that winning is the priority, because I’ll only have so many chances to get to the postseason and possibly get a World Series ring. Am I willing to take less money? Do I think I can recoup that money in other ways, maybe on my next contract?

I’m not going to go down the list — but the internal discussion that happens is fascinating to me, because it makes me wonder how the history of baseball would be different if players had different priorities.

What if every player’s priority was winning? Or could it be — let’s say that the teams who have the best shot of winning have already signed their free agents and there’s no room left for me? Would that mean that even though I’m a good player, I don’t have a way of landing on a good team and that I should therefore adjust my priorities and either get as much money as I could, or play somewhere close to home?

Or should I sign a one-year deal and be a free agent the following year in an attempt to achieve my goals?

This decision making process is something that I know I’ll be keeping in the back of my head as the free agent signings happen this winter.

What do you think?

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