It may have already begun before the hot stove season got underway, when the San Francisco Giants quietly re-signed right fielder Hunter Pence to a five-year, $90 million dollars. The Giants’ all star cashed in at a cool $18 million per season. Had he gone to free agency, the 30-year old Pence would have been one of the youngest power outfielders on the market. Perhaps general manager Brian Sabean was onto something.
Yesterday, soon after the Phillies announced they had signed Marlon Byrd to a two-year, $16 million deal that included a a vesting option for 2016, I was taken aback. You see, I figured Byrd would probably get no more than two years and $10 million total… Boy, was I wrong.
The Mets have chosen the worst possible time to be shopping for power bats – especially sluggers who can play the corner outfield.
“These guys are all going to get paid,” said one National League general manager to the Daily News. “There’s a lot of money right now, and it seems like everyone is looking for offense.”
Pirates GM had hoped to re-sign Byrd during his exclusive 5-day negotiating window, but quickly realized that both sides were on completely different pages after discussing dollars and cents. “We feared he was out of our price range immediately,” Huntington said.
You would think that with Byrd now off the table, that there would be a greater urgency for Sandy Alderson to pursue other options like Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson. But they all have interest from many teams and it will not be as easy as some are making it out to be.
The Red Sox, Rangers and Yankees are all very interested in Beltran, and a reunion with the Mets doesn’t seem likely.
After the Mets reached out to Granderson’s agent on Monday, the very next morning the former Yankee outfielder appeared on a radio interview and vowed his next deal would be with a winning team that will give him a chance to go to the post season for the fourth time in five years. Once you get a taste of the post season, you always want to go back he asserted.
Nelson Cruz may have the taint of a recent Biogenesis suspension, but that hasn’t stopped teams like the Seattle Mariners from making a serious play for him.
If nothing else, the Byrd deal has set the bar astronomically high for all teams in pursuit of home run hitters. It was the ultimate power play by the Phillies and if you thought $8 million a year for a player like Byrd was high, you ain’t seen anything yet.
One of the talking heads on MLB Network quipped that Choo, Granderson and Beltran must be smiling tonight. “Their next new contracts just shot up about 25 percent in value.”
What will unfold over the next two months will definitely not be suitable for the squeamish.