A fascinating bidding war -- which says everything about where baseball is, in this time and place of economic strife -- seems to be evolving between the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays and Athletics, whose combined payroll would probably account for about 3 ½ Yankees, are prepared to be big spenders on a corner outfielder/designated hitter type. Or, at least they're ready to spend big, within the context of this particular winter, which means anywhere from $4 million to $9 million, in all likelihood. There just aren't that many teams willing to dole out a contract that big.
And here's the thing: both teams might prefer that the other team sign a slugger first, whether it be Jason Giambi or Bobby Abreu or Pat Burrell or Garret Anderson, because it would naturally reduce the leverage of the rest of the field, and drive down their asking price.
Also, according ot the San Fran Chronicle, the A's are talking to Anderson and Abreu with Giambi as a priority, but no mention of Burrell: