Unemployed Superstars

Unemployment is rough for auto workers, mid-level managers, and retailers. Also superstar baseball players in their free-agent year. Not only has the bottom fallen out of the housing market. It’s also fallen out of the baseball free agent market. Consider:

If Major League Baseball called you today and offered the rights to a new expansion team, with the freedom to build your roster from the list of free agents still available at this astonishingly late date, you could construct a lineup with potential future Hall of Famers at catcher (Iván Rodríguez), both corner outfield positions (Manny Ramírez and Ken Griffey Jr.) and designated hitter (Frank Thomas).

As your cleanup hitter, you could have the only player in baseball with 40 or more homers in each of the past five seasons (Adam Dunn). Your second baseman could be a player less than two years removed from an all-star/Gold Glove season (Orlando Hudson). And your starting rotation could include two more Hall of Famers (Pedro Martínez and Tom Glavine), plus the National League’s starter in last year’s All-Star Game (Ben Sheets).

Less than two weeks away from the opening of spring training camps, baseball’s talent marketplace is facing a staggering reality: More than 90 free agents remain unsigned, and many of them simply won’t have jobs when pitchers and catchers report, if they find jobs at all.

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  • Don S

    So, will Manny Ramirez be filing for unemployment?

  • A much needed wake up call to the agents of these stars. One would expect the market to adjust from the free agent salary insanity that has overshadowed the game the past 15 years and brought us the steroid era. Empty ballparks will herald the next major salary adjustment, I’m sure.

  • Tom

    They can pick up there unemployment checks in their tricked out Escalades. Or go play in Japan…

  • Peter Leavitt

    Gary Becker, a Nobelist economist, and Kevin Murphy have an excellent, balanced article in the WSJ today, There’s No Stimulus Free Lunch
    It’s hard to spend wise and spend fast
    that concludes as follows:

    Our own view is that the short-term stimulus from the legislation before Congress will be smaller per dollar spent than is expected by many others because the package tries to combine short-term stimulus with long-term benefits to the economy. Unfortunately, short-term and long-term gains are in considerable conflict with each other. Moreover, it is very hard to spend wisely large sums in short periods of time. Nor can one ever forget that spending is not free, and ultimately it has to be financed by higher taxes.