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Perhaps the offseason bar set too high, too soon

Updated: November 13, 2009, 7:05 PM ET
By Peter Gammons
So much for the general managers meetings, which began five days after the World Series and 10 days before the free-agency period opens. They're really the agents meetings, because the agents are in the lobby and can float whatever they want floated, while no one can adequately estimate the ceilings or destinations of Matt Holliday or any other major free agent, no one accurately knows what salaries have to be dumped, or who will be on the non-tender list.

We don't even know how cold the predicted cold winter will be. For more than 30 years, predictions of dire financial straits have beaten the first flurries of the winter, and the predictions are always most dire when owners and players get within two years of a new Basic Agreement. Yes, the economy is bad, and while Major League Baseball has done a remarkable job keeping corporate sponsors, there are understandable concerns.

Now, it's not surprising that in The Rust Belt the Tigers, Indians, Reds, Pirates, Royals and others are facing strict belt tightening, but while MLB didn't get its usual annual 10 percent bump in revenues, it claims it made $6.2 billion to $6.4 billion as an industry. Franchise values continue to rise, and there are ways to make money taking each team's share of the MLB pie and putting it into the bank rather than investing in players and infrastructure.

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