Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Labor Agreement Might Mean New Wrinkle In Deadline Deals

According to Peter Gammons, the new labor deal about to be announced is a five year deal and will likely end draft choice compensation for losing free agents. This means that clubs will have to think a little longer before trading for a hired gun at the trading deadline.

Here's what I mean: lets say the Mets had an opportunity to land Barry Zito at the trading deadline for a topline prospect like Mike Pelfrey. The Mets likely would have done the deal, because even if they weren't able to re-sign Zito this October, they would have been given compensation draft picks, allowing them to at least replace the Mike Pelfrey-type they lost in the trade.

The reason this is a good thing for baseball makes clubs try harder to keep their existing free agents, so theoretically players will stay with one team longer during their careers. Doing away with the compensation pick system eliminates rewarding clubs for letting their players walk. I'm thinking the asumption is that it's the large revenue clubs that have the big free agents walk away, so compensation picks reward the high-revenue clubs the most? But what about the A's? Hmmm. On the other hand, now there's no penalty on the large market teams for gobbling up other teams's All Stars as soon as they become free agents. So what is the rationale for doing away with the compensation picks? Maybe someone else has a better idea? It almost certainly has to do with money...

In any case, a new labor agreement is good for the sport. Any time there is a labor dispute, the sport loses fans because we're reminded how greedy these rich bastards can be. Fortunately, we can try and forget about how greedy those rich bastards are for at least another half-decade.

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