Our own Jim Baker, who is a genuinely awful person, nevertheless had a great idea years ago, I think in his email newsletter. Jim's newsletter, by the way, was like the Velvet Underground of baseball newsletters. Only a thousand people subscribed, but every one of those people started their own baseball newsletter.
Jim's idea was that the best free agents at each position some winter all sign one-year contracts to play for the same team — say, the Cubs. Since no team could afford to pay the market rate for the top ten or twelve free agents, the players would have to agree to a reduced rate (a flat fee of $1 million a piece, by Jim's estimation ... this was a while ago), but such a scheme would give them their best chance of winning a World Series.
Admittedly, it would be nearly impossible to get enough free agents to play for less than what the market will bear, and I would never blame anyone for signing the biggest contract in front of him. Only the birds sing for free.
It happened in the NBA. Which maybe shouldn't be surprising, given the impact even two players can have in a five-on-five game, and the league's strict salary cap. If you can't make what you're worth, you might as well team up with your friends.
With an ever-shrinking share of baseball's revenues going to the players, maybe this is the time for a one-off, go-for-broke World Series team. Adding a Baker's dozen of these free agents to even the most moribund roster would practically guarantee a trip to the playoffs:
C Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B Mike Napoli, Corey Hart
2B Robinson Cano
3B Juan Uribe, Kevin Youklis
SS Ben Zobrist, Jhonny Peralta
LF Shin-Soo Choo
CF Jacoby Ellsbury, Coco Crisp
RF Hunter Pence
SP James Shields
SP Hiroki Kuroda
SP A.J. Burnett
SP Jon Lester
SP Bartolo Colon