Hey, a story that doesn't stink of drugs or plea bargains.
That's not to say something doesn't smell.
Great signing for the Nats, AKA the Cincy Reds on the Potomac, and they also could also use a second baseman, three or four starting pitchers, a bullpen, another bat and... wait a second.
Two years!?!? For a full-featured free agent with very few warts (aside from his so-called defense and whatever J.P. Ricciardi says), it's a very short contract. Guys with Dunn's credentials usually get four or five years, at least.
Two years, $20 million, it's now coming in. Dunn earned $13 million this past season.
Two years. And a $3-million pay cut.
Known to friends as "Big Donkey" (is he a Democrat?), Dunn has hit exactly 40 homers in each of the past four seasons. He has career averages of .247/.381/.518 with 1,256 strikeouts (already 25th all-time) in 3,871 at-bats. Just turning 29, Dunn creates a lot of runs with his power and patience.
Yeah, Dunn sure picked a bad year to hit the free-agent market. He had been among several in-their-prime guys who have been holding out for better offers that are slow to come in/might not come ever/seem really cheap if they do come.
It's not exactly like the Cubs signing Andre Dawson for $500K guaranteed in 1987, but the free-agent climate has a stinky aroma hovering.
The L.A. Times wrote about the possibility of collusion a week ago. That was Manny, of course.
Time Magazine wrote about it a year ago with A-Rod. Heh. Time. The Jose Canseco of magazines.
Another point worth noting is, of course, 1985-1987 was a time of prosperity for the country. Ronald Reagan, Charlie Wilson and the Taliban were toppling the Soviets; Charlie Sheen made a killing running Wall Street; everyone had a helicopter in the driveway, and two maids.
This winter, many fewer choppers. Still, Major League Baseball has been doing quite well — even in 2007 and 2008 when we've had a recessionary economy — with revenues surpassing $6 billion for the second straight season.
Seems like the owners are keeping more and more of it in their pockets. More power to them, as long as they didn't gather in a smoky room and enact an illegal collective strategy to do so. Not saying they have. But they did. At one time.
Today's owners wouldn't do anything like that, would they?