So, this is what baseball’s hot stove season looks like in the midst of what just about everyone is calling the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression:
- $161 million for seven years of CC Sabathia.
- $82.5 million for five years of AJ Burnett.
- Multiple $160 million, 8-year offers to Mark Teixeira, and rumors that the bidding could go as high as $175 or even $200 million.
And we haven’t even gotten to Manny Ramirez and Derek Lowe yet.
If baseball salaries are any guide, we should be less worried about credit default swaps and more concerned about inflation. The offers for Tex recall to mind the $160 million deal Boston gave Manny Ramirez in 2000, when he was 28 (the same age Tex is now). That was an 8 year deal with options that could bring it to 200 million and 10 years, a record deal for about two seconds until A-Rod signed that $252 million monster. Then, Manny had just come off a season in which he OBP’ed .457 and slugged .697. His OPS+ was 186.
Those numbers are crazy. Those numbers are eye-popping. Those numbers make me want to laugh, not a happy, trilling laugh, but a twisted, semi-hysterical laugh.
At the beginning of this decade, $160 million used to 8 years of a future Hall of Famer. Now it doesn’t even get you 8 years of a guy who’s just very, very good.
That’s not a knock on Tex. His OPS+ last year was a career-best 151. That’s excellent. But my eyeballs are still in their sockets.