Peter Gammons relayed a quote from an agent yesterday on the status of the free agent market:
Agent:”3 years Buck, Benoit. Pirates, Royals offering big. This is a great market. Angels, Red Sox, Mets could be left behind”
To break down the quote, the agent references the three year deals to John Buck and Joaquin Benoit, and mentions that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals are offering big as support that this is a great market.
The comment doesn’t say who the Pirates are “offering big” to, although my guess would be Jorge De La Rosa. That’s pure speculation, based on all of the reports about how the Pirates have De La Rosa as their top target, and are one of the most aggressive teams going after him.
The free agent market could start to pick up in the next week. Taking a look at the Off-Season calendar, Tuesday is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their ranked free agents. Players who aren’t offered arbitration fetch their team nothing in terms of compensation. Players who are offered arbitration have until November 30th to make a decision. Teams don’t want to engage in serious talks with players until they know what sort of compensation they will be giving up.
De La Rosa is almost a certainty to be offered arbitration, which would cost the Pirates their second round pick if they signed the former Colorado pitcher. The Pirates have also shown interest in Justin Duchscherer, Jeff Francis, and Brandon Webb.