LAS VEGAS -- Baseball teams keep telling us the bad economy will hurt the free agent market.
Players and agents just gave a strong signal that they don't agree.
Of the 24 free agents offered salary arbitration, only two accepted. Those two -- middle relievers David Weathers and Darren Oliver -- were seen by many as no-brainers. But so were some of the free agents who rejected the chance at arbitration.
"I thought for sure (Ben) Sheets would accept," one executive said after getting the news late Sunday night.
Sheets' injury history has scared some teams off, and the thought was he would benefit by trying for a healthy 2009 and entering the market in what presumably would be a healthier economy. Many executives thought that Jason Varitek, who had a poor season in 2008, could do the same.
I know I thought there was a real chance that Sheets and/or Varitek would accept.
Sheets, Varitek and 20 others decided they'll do plenty good enough on the market -- this supposedly economy-affected market.