Buster's Buzz: Which teams are waiting to pounce on bargains?
An agent recently described the state of the 30-team winter market. About 10 teams are aggressively trying to get better, he said. About 10 teams are open to the idea of additions, but not interested in chasing the most expensive players. And the other 10 teams, he estimated, aren’t really trying at all, as they rebuild or tank or whatever you want to call it.
But there’s almost a separate category of teams beyond those three — the clubs that seem to have withdrawn strategically from the early feeding frenzy with the intent to move in after the most aggressive clubs have fattened up. You might refer to the patient teams as “The Scavengers” if not for the pejorative sound of the word, because that’s pretty much what they’re doing — waiting for the most expensive players to get pulled out of the market, and for the big spenders to have tapped their budgets, before then looking for value in the carcass of what’s left.
This approach generally worked effectively for former Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette, who executed a lot of late-winter signings, including that of Nelson Cruz, and as the volume of free agents continues to grow, the motivation to scavenge grows, for clubs in very different circumstances, for different reasons.