This offseason has certainly been an interesting one if you look at it from the financial perspective. As one would expect, the amount of dollars spent on free agents this offseason is down significantly from just a year ago. Oddly enough, while most teams have been tightening their belts and refraining from signing egotistical players (hi, Johnny Damon!) that have priced themselves out of the market, a few teams have opened the checkbook in a big way to secure their young talent.
Since I'm a huge baseball nerd, I was born with the inherent belief that the "Player A / Player B" device is interesting and worthwhile. I apologize in advance for doing this. All numbers are for careers.
Player A: 3.78 FIP, 0.75 HR/9, 72.3 LOB%, 7.99 K/9, 116 ERA+
Player B: 3.54 FIP, 0.57 HR/9, 74.4 LOB%, 8.06 K/9, 125 ERA+
Player C: 3.78 FIP, 0.82 HR/9, 76.5 LOB%, 7.85 K/9, 128 ERA+
Player A? That's the recently extended Justin Verlander for the tidy sum of $80 million over five years. Player B is none other than the pictured Felix Hernandez, also extended in the new year for five years and $78 million. The final hurler? Oh, that's just Kris' horse in the (in)famous Bon Jovi Golden Pipes Wager, Jon Lester. Let me bring up his contact information here... What's this? 5 years and $30 million?
Bear in mind that Lester's deal was signed last offseason under different market conditions, but what does this all mean? On the one hand it's strange that the Tigers, who play in the recession-rocked city of Detroit, and who also already traded an affordable, cost-effective player for the purpose of "shedding salary" were apparently able to conjure cash out of the ether to extend Verlander. For two, the deals for King Felix and Verlander likely bode well for Tim Lincecum and his flowing mane of awesomeness. And lastly, why is Theo Epstein so good at his job and even more so in hindsight? Lester is arguably the best of the three, especially when you consider he's getting pennies compared to the other two. At this point, my obvious respect for Theo Epstein is rivaled only by Rob's closeted adoration of HIMYM.
Image of Felix le roi courtesy of flickr user carmenicole