Recent trades and acquisitions by teams seeking to strike it rich mirror that of ordinary civilians running down to the casino blindly believing today is their day. Forget the odds, the past and the probabilities. The belief that performance can merely be bought is dangerous.
Sure, any organization will say it studies players and never rushes to decisions. That's what an organization has to say. But it's no secret imaginations often run rampant. Could you imagine the outcry if the Braves would have signed B.J. Upton to that $75.25 million deal and then told fans they expected their new center fielder to hit .246, as he did in his final year with the Rays?
Despite his performance in 2012, the organization knew it would get more production from Upton. At least, it assumed it would. So naturally, the Braves got less -- he's batting .182 in 101 games.
Despite adding big-name players Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell, the Marlins lost 93 games in 2012. However, after the season was over, the Blue Jays were interested in bolstering their roster, and the Marlins were more than willing to make a deal, which sent Reyes and Buehrle to Toronto. For all the heat that's been directed at the Marlins since that trade, Miami is really in no worse shape than Toronto.
One should expect more big signings and deals this offseason.
Of the top two free agents, perhaps the most sought after will be Robinson Cano. The one steady rock in an otherwise shaky Yankees lineup this year, Cano is reportedly drawing interest from teams such as the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. Of course, the Yankees will certainly have their say as well.
Still, there is reason to believe the winner of Cano's services will be in a precarious situation. Sure, Cano hits for average, hits home runs and has been a solid RBI guy. However, signing someone who will turn 31 in October to a long-term deal seems a bit dicey.
This is especially true for a Yankees organization that has learned the hard way with Alex Rodriguez about the risks of giving older players long-term, big-money deals. However, don't think such foresight will slow the Yankees, Cardinals, Rangers or any other team from jumping at the chance to simply have Cano's name on their lineup card.
Another highlighted free agent will be Jacoby Ellsbury. Although Ellsbury is hitting for a solid average and is a constant threat to steal bases, teams looking for his services will need to keep their expectations within reason. After all, his seven home runs this year seem to prove the 32-homer season he had in 2011 was little more than a fluke.
Thus, teams interested in Ellsbury shouldn't offer him much more per year than the $9 million he's making this season. Any higher offer -- and there's sure to be at least one -- might not be worth it.
For now, teams won't listen, and they probably will never learn. Having money yet failing to spend wildly seems almost audacious. But often times, the big deal doesn't pay off.