Free Agency Loses Some of Its Luster

So-so big-name players get only minor-league deals
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2008 1:55 PM CDT
Mike Piazza hits a two-run homer for the Oakland Athletics in 2007. Though he's still posting good numbers, the free agent has been passed over this season.   (AP Photo/Francis Specker)
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(Newser) – Veteran baseball players of varying skill levels have been finding it harder to secure the contracts they used to pull in on name recognition alone, leaving plenty of big names unsigned and plenty more playing at cut rates. The New York Sun looks into just why Jeff Weaver is in the minors and David Wells, Mike Piazza, and Kenny Lofton can't find work.

It could be collusion—an illegal and unlikely answer—or it could be that management strategies have reached a tipping point. Instead of overpaying veteran free agents on the decline, clubs are grabbing comparable new talent at a similar price. Plenty of teams could still use the arms of Livan Hernandez and Kyle Lohse, but not at the prime rates of yesteryear.