Originally Posted by doublem23
The dynamics of baseball have changed over the last decade, teams are willing to offer long contracts to young players early in their careers to lock them up and remove them from the free agent market. It's happening across the league, from "big market" to "small market" teams.
How baseball operated in say, 1975 is completely irrelevant to this discussion. There is no question the Sox are significantly behind most of the league's most competitive teams in terms of player development, drafting, and scouting. That's why we're coming off the 3rd worst season in the league and have one of the worst minor league systems in baseball.
It will be interesting to see how the trend of locking up young talent develops. It isn't without risk (see Alex Rios and the Blue Jays, their greatest hits collection being an EP). There are players who don't perform as well when they are financially secure. There also are players who decline because of injury or the rigors of major league baseball.
Mostly teams are buying out arbitration years. And the higher pay for younger players probably affects what other players will make in arbitration because a team has exclusive rights, or at least first refusal, for six season. I'm not so sure that by the time most players reach free agency their best years will be behind them. Examples aren't hard to find.
It's a long way from 1975 where baseball was coming off of a decade of an amateur draft and the reserve clause, allowing someone as underfunded as Charlie Finley to establish a dynasty.