The malls may be full of shoppers this weekend, but Major League Baseball is also on a spending binge. So you'd better fasten your seat belts.
The Chicago Cubs started the expensive raid on free agents by signing Alfonso Soriano to an eye-popping eight-year, $136 million deal. All of the money is guaranteed.
Soriano put up significant numbers this past season for the last-place Washington Nationals in the National League East Division. He's a slugger who can hit 40 or more homers and steal 40 or more bases.
He's a talent.
But the size and length of that deal mean trouble for teams still looking for players in free agency. Soriano has lifted the marker big time.
"It is simply a matter of supply and demand. Clubs are making some money, and they'll get in this market," said one veteran executive of a team looking to make a deal. "Look out this winter for the numbers."
Virtually every team is looking for pitching help. Agents, those salesmen on the prowl for hefty commissions, are well aware of the need for pitching.
Barry Zito, a fine left-handed pitcher for the Oakland A's, is available. His agent is marketing him as the next Sandy Koufax or Steve Carlton. Comparing Zito to those two Hall of Fame lefties is absurd. But you get the message.
Agents are drooling after learning of the contract with Soriano. It can only lead to excessive contracts and nice commissions for those agents.
For example, watch for the bidding to go up for slugger Carlos Lee, who has moved around in recent years but is a reliable 3-4-5 hitter. Journeymen pitchers will get more money than they imagined.
Owners for their part seem intent on improving their teams and lifting their TV audiences. And they seem willing to pay any price.
Soriano and his agent are enjoying this Thanksgiving weekend. I hope all readers of my blogs do the same, even if they're without his $136 million.