It seems like GMs are creaming their pants at the prospect of signing guys like Beltre, Benson, Pavano, and Wright. However, it makes me wonder...are these GMs oblivious to what those players did in previous years? Beltre had the talent and people always waited for him to come around and he always put up poor numbers, so why do GMs automically assume that he will continue to put up those kind of numbers? Same thing with Pavano, he is the "biggest name pitcher on the FA market" yet he has only been a quality pitcher for one year, and he still does not strike a lot of batters out. Seems to me that guys like Clement, Odalis, and Radke are much better options for multi-year deals because at least they have a track record and you know what to expect. Just seems odd to me.
If you are looking at numbers alone, then I agree with you about Beltre. If you are looking at why those numbers were the way they were for him, then I have to disagree. Personally, I think its smarter to look at why.
I do agree with you on Pavano though - he has (had) a very high price tag.
Good points; I'd been wondering the same thing. GMs really seem to forget the old adage of buy-low/sell-high.
A telling example for me last year was the Yankees' decision to sign Sheffield rather than Vladie. Sheff had his best season and was something like 35 and under a steroid investigation. Vlad was about 28, and had an off year (admittedly for back-related reasons). For the same money they could've had a better fielder and younger player, but they bought high, just like with Brown and Vazquez. And before that they bought the reigning MVP, Giambi, at the height of his value.
Other teams 'buy low' but STILL pay full price, like the Diamondbacks decision to sign Glaus, or their overpayment of Russ Ortiz (who had a sweet 2003). It's really puzzling. If you look at the guys the Red Sox signed -- Mientciewicz, Cabrera, Bellhorn, Mantei, Schilling -- they're all guys who got signed one year AFTER a great year, but who had an off year preceding the time when the Sox grabbed them. Other than Schilling, they're younger too (32 or less, still in roughly the prime range), so any performance decline most likely isn't attributable to age. Notice that Theo is trying to trade Manny again? Manny is at the height of his value--world series MVP. He's trying to sell high.
Needless to say, I like the Theo Epstein model --even if it doesn't work in a given case, it's cheaper-- and I don't get what the Yankees and Diamondbacks are doing. Beltre and Beltran will get huge money and they'll earn some of it back, but it's unlikely in my mind that they'll perform at that level consistentl. Some teams get $0.75 on every dollar they spend; others get $1.25.