Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Collusion, or just a market turn? 

I've been so consumed with football, I've barely noticed an oddity in baseball this offseason: Some very good players still aren't signed. The situation is starting to raise eyebrows, with articles and blog posts like this becoming commonplace over the last few days.

Now, many of these players are washed-up or ineffective veterans who can't deal with the fact that they don't deserve much money anymore (see Ray Durham, Tom Glavine, Eric Gagne).

But there are also older players with a lot left in the tank, and a few bona fide stars of the variety that are hardly ever still on the market in February:

Garrett Anderson is getting older but still produces.

Orlando Hudson is only 30 and about as solid as they come at second base.

Ben Sheets has injury problems, but I'd rather have him than the also-injury prone and less dominating A.J. Burnett at $82 million over five years (the Yankees evidently ignored the collusion memo).

Manny Ramirez is unsigned? Baggage or no baggage, that's a sign that players and teams are on very different wavelengths.

But perhaps none of these surprise me as much as the fact that Adam Dunn hasn't been signed. This guy has the 21st best On-Base Percentage of active players. And he's hit 40+ HR for five straight freakin' years (and exactly 40 home runs the last four -- which I find freaky).

It would be fun to see the lefty Dunn swinging for that short right-field porch at PNC Park. But I guess we already have Adam LaRoche to do that, once he gets going three months into every season.

Oh, and the Pirates are apparently delving into this buyer's market by pursuing one of the most washed up players available.

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