I was looking over Chad Jennings' All-Free Agent Team.
Craig Brown of Hardball Times takes a look at the activities of MLB's Have-Nots.
It seems that several teams are making the most of a bad situation: the Rockies, the Rangers, the Twins, the Rays, and the Marlins are playoff contenders. A couple more (the Jays and the D-backs) have plans to compete. But excepting the few best run of the lower half of the financial league, nearly every team is operating at the perceived limit of its budget.
The current CBA doesn't expire until after the 2011 season- but there will be some changes to the financial structure. The payroll tax designed to reign in the Yankees has had only minor success (Carlos Beltran in 2004, and presumably a free agent this offseason). The savvy clubs have learned how to exploit opportunities like regional sports networks to maximize their income. Many of those same clubs have been working to exploit the inequalities of international free agency.
We'll hear lots of talk in the next 24 months about newer or higher payroll taxes, increased revenue sharing, an international draft, and alternate draft systems (with and without slot prices).
But I really hope change starts with increased transparency. Opening the books, and proving they are at their budget limit, is the only way for the poorest teams to prove their need.
Ken Rosenthal names the Yanks, Pads, and A's as 3 of the 5 teams interested in bringing Jerry Hairston Jr. onboard. A one year deal for $2-3M seems reasonable for the Yanks, where JHJ could back up the infield while serving as a right handed platoon option for LF.
Sounds like Jerry has his choice between more playing time on a losing team, or a smaller role on the defending World Champions. I wouldn't fault his choice either way, but I know what I'd want.