You know that sinking feeling you get when your team decides to go all-in on some increasingly calcifying veteran free agent on the wrong side of 35? Well, it’s happening less and less:
For a group of big-name baseball free agents over the age of 35, last year was a winter of serious discontent.
Frank Thomas, Jim Edmonds, Ray Durham, Paul Lo Duca and many others
were hit by a deep freeze that left proven veteran Major Leaguers
without big league offers, and in some cases, even Minor League
invites. It was cold and puzzling, and yet another harsh sign of the
A year later, with the Hot Stove season in full swing, similarly aged
former star players such as Garret Anderson, Brian Giles, Jim Thome,
Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Millar, Darin Erstad, Miguel Batista and Randy
Winn might find themselves wondering where they’ll be employed, or
quite possibly having to prove themselves in Spring Training all over
Sure, two-thirds of those guys will get multi-year offers from the Giants, but what are the other guys gonna do?
But seriously, is there one name on that list that is a better than anyone your team has in a given position right now? Maybe Thome would still be useful as a DH, but with the Andruw Jones signing, even his most speculated-about landing pad — the White Sox — may not be an option.
It’s always been amazing to me that a game that is such a brutal meritocracy on the way up has been an old boys club on the back end. Those days are all but gone now, and while that may be sad in any given case — who didn’t want to see Jim Edmonds take a victory lap last season? — it’s a good thing for the game in the aggregate.