Monday, November 13, 2006

Transaction Recap: Cardinals, Astros

Cardinals:

Signed Jim Edmonds to 2-year, $19 million contract

At first, I was puzzled about the decision to sign Edmonds for two years rather than simply pick up his $10 million 2007 option, but it makes sense upon further review. The Cardinals have Chris Carpenter under contract through 2008, and one would expect Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols to continue producing at least through that year. So the Cardinals' window of near-term opportunity is basically open for exactly those two years, and their best move is to load up now, before Edmonds' body gives out, Rolen wears down from age and injuries, and Carpenter becomes very expensive or leaves via free agency. It's unlikely the extra $9 million will look like a huge mistake unless Edmonds suffers a severe injury between now and the end of the contract.

Astros:

Signed Craig Biggio to a 1-year, $5.15 million contract

As a fan in the era of big free-agent deals, I'm happy that Biggio will remain an Astro to the end. I like underappreciated players, and certainly Biggio has been underappreciated throughout his career, except perhaps by the fans in Houston.

At some point, however, someone will have to explain to me why Biggio's salary keeps going up, from $3 million at age 39 in 2005 to $4 million in 2006 to $5.15 million at age 41 next year. His performance is exhibiting a normal steep decline as a player reaches the end of his career. Are the Astros really worried that there would have been a big market for a 41-year old second baseman this offseason? It will be nice to see Biggio pick up his 3000th hit as an Astro, but certainly no one else would have paid anywhere near this amount for him on the open market, not in an economy where Frank Thomas gets $500,000 and $2.1 million in incentives.

Unless Biggio wanted to leave, which seems unlikely, there was simply no need to make such an exorbitant offer. Giving him $5.15 million was a waste of money.

No comments: