Across the AL East, Jason Bay wants five years and close to $60 million. Throughout the season and the beginning of the off-season, the Red Sox and Bay flirted with a contract extension to keep the left fielder in Boston. It never happened. The Red Sox were reluctant to commit that amount of money to Bay and found themselves a cheaper outfield option in veteran Mike Cameron. The addition of Cameron will likely shift Jacoby Ellsbury to left field and Bay to a new home.
The days of teams offering huge contracts to decent-if-not-pretty-good players is over. Remember when Carlos Silva signed a four year $48 million contract? Or when Gary Matthews, Jr. signed with the Angels for five years and $50 million? Teams are being more cautious with long-term contracts as baseball shifts away from high priced free agents and back toward development of young talent. It's cheaper, and in some cases you get a better player, sticking with internal options. Is anyone going to give a 36 year old outfielder a four year contract? Probably not, especially if there is a 20-something outfielder waiting in the wings in AAA. There are very few players that are worth a long-term commitment for a lot of money: Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez. For everyone else, if agents are going to continue to demand ludicrous contracts, players are going to get priced out of good situations.