|Anything Goes: On Transfer Fees|
Written by Adam Adkins (Contact & Archive) on June 17, 2009
Some of you might have noticed that last Wednesday, English soccer giants Manchester United 'sold' their star forward Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, a famous soccer club in Spain, which plays in a different league from Man U.Â In soccer, such things are allowed.Â Teams can buy players from other teams; in fact, Real has a history of it.Â So, one player, even a star, being bought is not a new thing.
It isn't nearly as much as the leading baseball contract, no, but it was the biggest transfer fee ever bestowed.Â And it got me thinking.Â Ronaldo is a young superstar with future in front of him.Â This wasn't like some old retread. This is Ronaldo, a huge star, the equivalent of, oh, Alex Rodriguez (not the very best but among the very best).Â What if, in baseball, teams could buy and sell players?
First off, it's barred.Â Not allowed.Â Most people would think that allowing teams to make player purchases in non-free agency matters would serve to only empower the rich clubs.Â But consider this.Â Free agency absolutely helps rich clubs because they can purchase a great player and only have to give up draft picks to the team the player left.Â Isn't the whole Type A-Type B mumbo jumbo in place to help ease the blow for the teams losing free agents?Â So how would one team paying another team for that team's player be an unfair activity?Â You wouldn't need to steal draft picks!Â The money itself would make the exchange equal!
This would, at first, potentially make all rich teams far more dominant on the field.Â But as money exchanges hands, eventually poorer teams would be able to make their own transfers.Â The playing field will never be equal, because the cities aren't equal, but, is there any reason why a transfer system would make the game more unfair?
Let's look, just for funsies, what some major stars could garner in transfer fees:
Albert Pujols, First Baseman, St. Louis Cardinals, Age 29
We might as well start with the best player in the sport.Â The thing is, the biggest potential spenders, the New York Yankees, might not even be involved, due to them signing Mark Teixeira last year.Â However, we can't count them out, given the opportunity to DH either Teixeira or Pujols.Â However, both the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets would be interested, especially the Mets.Â They might be willing to reach to about $150 million, if not higher.
Hanley Ramirez, Shortstop, Florida Marlins, Age 25
Here is potentially the most valuable commodity in baseball.Â Ramirez is an unbelievable hitter, albeit with a glove meant more for center field than short.Â Listen, folks, his career line is .310/.380/.526.Â He's basically Derek Jeter with much more power, which means he's like Diet Griffey Junior.Â Do you realize how valuable that is?Â Really valuable.Â I'd expect a bidding war between the Yankees and Red Sox for him, which is funny, considering the Red Sox dealt him in a package that brought back Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.Â Don't discount the Chicago Cubs for this one either, and the LA Dodgers would probably toss their cap in too.Â Start the bidding at $130 million.
Zack Greinke, Right Handed Pitcher, Kansas City Royals, Age 25
He's had the best year of any pitcher in the game so far in 2009, although Roy Halladay is now yipping at his heels.Â Any major team in baseball would clamor for him.Â The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers or Angels, the Chicago Cubs and possibly even the Texas Rangers would all be in on Greinke.Â You know, I thought at first that Hanley was easily the one most after, but how much would teams offer for Greinke?Â How about $120 million?
Stephen Strasburg, Right Handed Pitcher, Washington Nationals, Age 20
Soon to be 21, though.Â We have to consider his presence in the grand scheme of things.Â Remember the debates everyone had about how much he'd be worth on the free market?Â Here it is again.Â All the teams interested in Greinke would be after Strasburg, who could probably garner at least $80 million, if not more.Â Remember, baseball's transfer fees would begin to blow away the figures in soccer.
Evan Longoria, Third Baseman, Tampa Bay Rays, Age 23
Oh boy.Â Boston and the Dodgers seem to be obvious candidates, with the Tigers interested.Â Don't discount the Yankee presence, since they'd probably put a flier in on each player.Â How much would he be worth?Â The Rays would probably start the bidding at $130 million, and can anyone say it's unfair?Â Longoria might have a Mike Schmidt-like career.
If anyone has an idea for a player or a thought about the transfer system, please contact me through the contact form found beside my name or leave a comment.