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Miguel Cabrera

Earlier this week, I noted Dayn Perry's assertion that Vernon Well's $126MM contract will be a bargain in the coming years.  To me, it was the first signing of baseball's version of irrational exuberance last seen in 2000-1 with the ARod, Jeter, Hampton, Helton et al contracts.

This morning the Sun-Sentinel throws their hat in the ring with conjecture about Miguel Cabrera's free agent contract - in 2009!  In perfectly rational language the writer, Juan C. Rodriguez, concludes:

Braunecker[AJ Burnett's agent] said clubs appear willing to go higher on the average annual value (AAV) of contracts in exchange for fewer years.

The same team unwilling to give Cabrera a $22 million AAV over eight years ($176 million) may deem six years and a $29 million AAV ($174 million) more palatable.

"It's simply a matter of the clubs now assess risk more in terms of years than they do dollars," Braunecker said. "They don't want to be hamstrung multiple years down the road. ...

"If [Cabrera] continues to show this sort of consistent production and he betters himself on that, it's really hard to say what kind of money this guy could be looking at."

My question is where in the business cycle does the exuberance exhibit itself in baseball?  Since when is risk more important than dollars?  (Well in the world of under-funded pension plans looking to invest in potentially higher-returning assets (read: hedge funds), this occurs.)

(Hat tip to craig at Fish Stripes.)