One of the scenarios in the whole Mark Teixeira, do-we-trade-him-or-do-we-keep-him saga, has us keeping him (presumably because there is no where to trade him, or we have some delusion about staying in the race) and just accepting the two draft picks we would receive as compensation when he would presumably sign with another team (after we offer him arbitration). Many people from beat writers to bloggers have floated this scenario and suggested that the two draft picks would be a manageable return on our investment of prospects plus a year and a half of Tex.
Well don't start counting your chickens before they've hatched. Kevin Goldstein over at Baseball Prospectus recently posted a story about the excesses that some teams are spending on first round draft picks this year. The teams with the money -- New York and Boston -- are spending several millions of dollars to sign their first round picks and are also spending lavishly on later round picks with first round skill sets. Meanwhile, other more thrifty teams are having a hard time signing their first round picks for reasonable amounts of money (even when you consider reasonable in the baseball contract sense).
Consider that if we end up keeping Teixeira through the end of the season and getting two draft picks when he signs elsewhere, then we may have to pony up anywhere from $6 million to $14 million just to sign all of our picks before the second round. Add on to that the possibility of Will Ohman bringing at least one supplemental first round pick and that's four players who would be expecting first-round money.
On one hand it's a good problem to have since you are no doubt infusing your system with an amazing amount of talent at one time, on the other hand, you may have to pay through the nose for that talent.
In the past the Braves have been on both sides of the fence between paying first round money for first round talent and trying to get some players at a bargain. Certainly their history with draft-and-follow players means that they're willing to shell out good money to players picked lower in the draft, but their history with guys like second round pick Josh Fields last year and fifth round pick Jacob Thompson this year shows that they may not be willing to go as far as this new market is pushing some of these contracts. Also, don't forget that the Jason Heyward negotiations last year dragged on until three days before the deadline to sign draftees.
Maybe it's too early to worry about this problem, but it's something to consider when considering some of the packages being floated for Tex.