Big-Market Teams Purposely Staying Quiet?

Stephen ThomasContributor IJanuary 25, 2009

The economy’s sagging.  Big name free agents are sitting on the market with their astronomical demands.  And who, for argument’s sake has remained relatively quiet?  The big-market teams.

Of course, names like C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeria, A.J. Burnett, John Smoltz, Raul Ibanez and Francisco Rodriguez received big money contracts. 

However, big names are still on the market: Manny Ramirez, Ben Sheets, Adam Dunn, Andy Pettite and Orlando Hudson.

There are also some nice piece players out there: Oliver Perez, David Newhan, Kevin Millar, Bobby Abreu and Livan Hernandez.

If the league were as unbalanced as it supposedly is, or worse, as much as it can be, none of these decent names would be on the market.  Both New York teams are opening new stadiums this spring; they can both afford Ramirez. 

The Mets rotation currently has three solid starters in Johan Santana, John Maine and Tim Redding.  They could certainly use an arm like Andy Pettite, who is not only used to pitching in New York, but has big game experience that could possibly prevent the Mets from choking for a third straight year.

Further, currently listed in the left field position of the Mets depth chart is Daniel Murphy.  Who?  Precisely.  Do people actually believe the Mets don’t have the funds or resources to add Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn out there?

With Tim Hudson being out the first four months of the upcoming season, are there those who don’t believe they could take a chance on Ben Sheets on the cheap?

However, don’t believe that this story is full of angels, there certainly are demons in this situation as well.

The Brewers top two starters from a year ago are or were free agents going into the off-season.  Where is their bid for Sheets?  Why are they not taking a run at Perez?

Last year, a little more offense could’ve allowed the Diamondbacks to hold off the Dodgers.  Where’s their bid for Dunn, a player they coveted at the trade deadline last year.  If there was a legit power source coming up from the minors, why wasn't he there last season? Winter ball doesn't make players that much better. 

In our “down economy,” most of the league is still making money, and if they’re not, you can bet they’re receiving their share of profit sharing and luxury tax moneys from the Yankees, the Mets, the Mariners, the Tigers and the Red Sox. 

To tell the fans it’s because of the economy that teams can’t go out and get free agents is a sham.  Owners are just blaming the economy for why they can’t hand out big time contracts.  But at this point, less than a month until pitchers and catchers report, are the rich going to bite the bullet and steal these players off the market, or are small-market teams going to stop being so stingy and attempt to better their teams?