Yesterday, Buster Olney tossed the Seattle Mariners into the internet room with Andrew Bailey, the Athletics closer currently on the trade market. It's an interesting thought as the Mariners seemed more likely to be trading away a closer (Brandon League) than trading for one. It makes sense though because Andrew Bailey is really good and entering his first year of arbitration so he should be a net asset for a couple more seasons. For those reasons, the cost to pry him away from Oakland will be high, right?
It might end up being less than you'd expect. One of the adjustments under the new CBA is that relievers will now be hard pressed to end up netting Type A compensation. The Bailey rumor got me thinking about the effects this CBA change could have on the relief pitcher market. I explored the topic more fully at FanGraphs and I encourage you to go read my thought process there. I made some handy tables! I'm in a table-making mood apparently. Did you know that to table an idea here in the USA means to end discussion of the idea, but everywhere else tabling an idea means to begin discussion? English is so wacky!
Anyways, here's the punch line:
The draft picks are gone from the [decision-making process and] I expect two actions to occur. Removed from the additional cost of forfeiting a draft pick, salaries for free agent closers will rise. Secondly, with the possible benefit of future compensation gone, teams should offer less in trades for relievers.
If my simplistic economic model of the market holds up then the return garnered by a trade of Bailey, or Brandon League, will be smaller than they would have been under the previous CBA. It will be difficult to impossible to ascertain until much later in the future if a shift indeed takes place, but it does possibly explain in part how Joe Nathan just got $7 million a year from the Rangers.