Four key market forces at play

Updated: November 17, 2012, 11:16 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Only 20 days have passed since Sergio Romo struck out Miguel Cabrera to end the World Series, but this offseason has already generated one of the biggest trades in history and some aggressive signings. There are many market forces at play, baseball officials and agents report. Among them:

1. The Sticker Shock
In the first days after the free-agency period began, agents presented their asking prices to general managers -- huge numbers, in many cases, such as Anibal Sanchez asking the Tigers for a deal in the range of $100 million. These suggested retail costs have been enhanced, of course, by the anticipated influx of cash into the market this winter.

The response of club executives has been a mad search for the best bargains on short-term deals; we are seeing the kind of deals in November that we typically see in January. This is why Oakland quickly jumped on Bartolo Colon on a one-year, $3 million deal, why the Rays pushed aggressively to get Joel Peralta locked into a two-year, $6 million deal, and why Scott Baker got a solid, one-year $5.5 million deal just six months after he had Tommy John surgery, and why so many teams are pushing for the low-cost options such as Jeremy Bonderman.

It won't be until after the best bargains are cleaned out, some executives believe, that the clubs will seriously start to consider the more expensive options of Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, et al.