Some wag once said the problem with free agency wasn't paying the stars but the high price of mediocrity. I'd say there's a bit of both. Alfonso Soriano apparently gets 'Derek Jeter money' and we've yet to hear whether Nomar Garciaparra, who spurned 15 extra large per year for four years will get anything close to that in Dodgerland.
Meanwhile, Alex Gonzalez parlayed his defensive excellence into almost five million dollars a year, which certainly makes signing Alex Cora at two million a year seem like chicken feed. Actually, the commercials are pretty short corn futures, so maybe chicken feed will come down. I'm sure that Mr. Henry would be able to give me a better answer on that.
And how will the Red Sox willingness to spend 51.1 mill to talk with the Japanese not spill over into the broader market? Why should a college or high school free agent be bound by the MLB draft rules as the Players' Association hasn't negotiated on their behalf? And why shouldn't American teams (e.g. the Royals) post their best players with trade negotiation rights going to the highest bidder?
You can be sure that in the end the losers will be THE FANS, paying even more for tickets, hot dogs, and water. That is the ultimate price of mediocrity.