SportsProf

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Buster Olney on Future Separation of Baseball Teams

Apparently the haves are going to have some more bounty to plunder -- and soon.

According to Buster Olney this morning on ESPN Radio, many big-league clubs are going to non-tender players who are arbitration eligible and let them become free agents. The reason -- the economy and their own economics. Smaller market teams probably won't be patient for a potential star to emerge and might cut him loose rather than take risks that through escalating salaries through arbitration the player might not turn out to be that good and then they're stuck with him for a season. Apparently, the Rockies might not tender 3B Garrett Atkins (who could reunite with his college buddy Chase Utley in Philadelphia if the Phillies were to let Pedro Feliz go), and the Marlins might not tender Jeremy Hermida. According to Olney, this means that the gap between the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies -- on the one hand -- and possibly most other teams -- could widen (the Dodgers might be included in the former group, but the potential divorce of the McCourts suggests that they won't be that active in adding players or salaries).

An acquaintance who belongs to an ownership group in the NHL suggested to me a month ago that MLB needs a salary cap, that it's worked for the NHL and the NFL, and that to maximize fan interest all fans need to know that their team has a reasonable chance to win a title. In Major League Baseball, is it realistic to think that Pittsburgh or Cincinnati or Washington or Baltimore can win a title any time soon?

At any rate, look out for the non-tendering of arbitration eligible players -- and a swooping in of the big-market teams to further fortify their rosters. All of this should take place, according to Buster Olney, in the next 37 days.

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