December 09, 2002

BAD BUD: Peter Gammons doesn't

BAD BUD: Peter Gammons doesn't come right out and say it, but he strongly implies that Bud Selig and the owners are colluding to suppress the baseball free agent market. The evidence? It was announced this week that the Selig-controlled Montreal Expos have to slash about $15 million in payroll, meaning that they may need to trade more than one of their young stars (Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Vidro, Javier Vasquez, and Bartolo Colon). This announcement was timed to coincide with Friday's deadline for offering players salary arbitration (all players not offered instantly become free agents) and the start next week of the annual winter meetings.
Basically, the owners are seeking to flood the supply of available players, and then crying poverty when it comes time to sign them. As Gammons points out, Selig and his cohorts pulled the same trick last year by threatening contraction and keeping the possibility of a dispersal draft alive throughout the entire offseason. The latest gambit means that come spring training, there'll be dozens (if not hundreds) of unsigned major leaguers, and those who do sign will get far less money due to the artificial decrease in demand. The Phillies appear to be the only franchise not playing the game.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 9, 2002 04:27 AM
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