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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Non-Yankees spending down significantly

We are fortunate at ESPN to have outstanding researchers such as Mark Simon. He has generated a review of this offseason's free-agent spending that speaks for itself.

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From Simon: "We know that free-agent spending among teams other than the Yankees has declined greatly. Here's a way to quantify it. Free-agent spending by teams other than the Yankees is down nearly a quarter of a billion dollars from last year.

"Among the 29 other teams in MLB, total free-agent spending this offseason is approximately $318 million. That doesn't include the imminent signings of Mark Hendrickson and Brad Penny, but those two deals wouldn't greatly impact the numbers.

"Now, let's compare that to 2007, again taking the Yankees out of the equation. In 2007, at this time, the 29 other teams had spent approximately $562 million. So the difference in non-Yankees spending from last year to this year, using the same time frame, is $244 million.

"So far in 2008, we've seen one non-Yankees free-agent signing to a contract valued at $40 million (Ryan Dempster, four years, $52 million). By this time in 2007, we had seen the following players sign with teams other than the Yankees for more than $40 million:

Torii Hunter Angels 5 years, $90M
Aaron Rowand Giants 5 years, $60M
Carlos Silva Mariners 4 years, $48M
Francisco Cordero Reds 4 years, $46M
"The four teams that have made those signings (Angels, Giants, Mariners, Reds) have spent approximately $58 million combined on free agents this offseason; they gave $244 million to those four players alone.

"We're going to see a big difference from 2007 in another spending pattern. Last year, the biggest free-agent contract signed after Jan. 1 was a two-year, $11 million deal for Octavio Dotel. The top 16 contracts given to free agents (total value) were signed before the new year. This offseason we likely will see a few deals -- most notably Manny Ramirez -- signed after New Year's Day, with a total value of $11-plus million."

Around the majors with Buster Olney Insider