The cost to acquire proven big-league talent has been rather stunning this offseason.At least, it’s been a topic of constant conversation. We’ve heard the same Wait, what? reaction echo acro s the sport on a daily basis lately.MORE: The worst MLB free-agent signings of all timeThe Nationals gave up how many elite pitching prospects to get Adam Eaton? The Yankees and Giants spent how much money on one-inning pitchers? The list goes on and on. The Red Sox paid an incredibly hefty price to trade for ace Chris Sale. Ian Desmond and Dexter Fowler, guys who couldn’t find acceptable multiyear free-agent contracts last offseason, landed five-year deals with the Rockies and Cardinals, respectively. Fans of pretty much every team have been doing their best metronome impre sions, what with the constant shaking of heads in disbelief as each transaction is announced.It’s gotten to the point where a deal that could very well be mutually beneficial the Cubs getting one year of an elite closer (Wade Davis) and the Royals getting four years of a potential star outfielder (Jorge Soler) seems https://www.twinsedge.com/minnesota-twins/ervin-santana-jersey like a ma sive win for the Cubs, the team getting the proven star.Here’s the thing, though: The cost to acquire/pay proven big-league talent ALWAYS seems stunning. Always, always, always.MORE: Worst in-season trades for every NL franchiseBack in 1930, Babe Ruth uttered maybe his most famous quote ever, when he was asked if he felt guilty that his $80,000 salary demand was more than Herbert Hoover was making as president: I know, Ruth said, but I had a better year than Hoover.Every year, we shake our heads at the same thing. Especially over the past couple of decades, when yearly salaries, spurred by competition on the free-agent market, jumped into the millions.Look at this headline from the November 23, 1989 edition of The New York Times: Puckett Hits the Jackpot: First $3 Million Man.Seems quaint now, doesn’t it? A measly $3 millionper year over three years.MORE: Worst in-season trades for every AL franchiseWell, before the start of the 1990 season, five more players owned the record for biggest deal. First, Rickey Henderson signed a four-year, $12 million deal. Then it was Mark Langston ($3.2 million average annual value), then Mark Davis ($3.25 million AAV), then Dave Stewart ($3.5 million AAV) and then Will Clark ($3.75 million AAV). The sky certainly was falling.Except it wasn’t.Remember when the Braves traded for a year-and-a-half of slugger Mark Teixeira at the 2007 non Kent Hrbek Jersey -waiver trade deadline? They sent a package of prospects that included Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Matt Harrison. Andrus and Saltalamacchia were Atlanta’s top two prospects heading into the 2007 season, and Feliz and Harrison were highly regarded, too.There are so many other examples over the years, more than we need to dig into to illustrate the point. OK, maybe one more guy. In 2001, Alex Rodriguez signed a $252 million contract with the Rangers. In 2007, he signed a $275 million contract to stay with the Yankees.The sky didn’t collapse on baseball.MORE: Who were the biggest winners at the annual winter meetings?Baseball’s economics are constantly shifting, which is to say the price tags are constantly going up. That change/increase is constant. Another constant is the shocked reactions we’ve seen again this year at the change/increase.So why are we always surprised? Teams will pay market price. They won’t spend money they don’t have or trade prospects they can’t afford to give up (well, most of them).The Yankees gave Aroldis Chapman nearly $90 million because they had nearly $90 million to spend. Did the Cardinals want to give Dexter Fowler a five-year deal worth $82.5 million? No, they would have much rather given him three years and $45million, but $45million wasn’t going to get the job done. If they thought $82.5 million would have been truly detrimental to the franchise, Tommy Pham would be starting in center field on opening day.Fowler gets props here for taking 1-yr deal, betting big on himself, and coming up aces. 82.5M called “insane” by rival. Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2016Same thing with prospect cost. The Red Sox gave Yoan Moncada and three other prospects to the White Sox to Chris Sale because they believed the cost was worthwhile. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have done it.That basic premise is the same now as it was when the Yankees gave Babe Ruth his series of mind-boggling contracts yearly.MORE: Wade Davis trade is another championship move for the CubsWe shouldn’t be surprised, of course, but don’t expect that to change anytime soon. In fact, the biggest shocks are on the horizon, and they’ll get here when the the free-agent cla s of 2018 arrives.You’ve heard the talk https://www.twinsedge.com/minnesota-twins/jason-castro-jersey of Bryce Harper potentially landing a deal north of $400 million, right? Folks, he ain’t alone.Manny Machado will probably get a deal equal to Harper’s. Josh Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, will be a free agent. Star left-handed pitchers David Price and Clayton Kershaw are eligible to opt-out of their deals.Matt Harvey, Andrew McCutchen, Dallas Keuchel, Andrew Miller, Dee Gordon and Craig Kimbrel are also on track to hit the free-agent market.The money that will be thrown about that offseason shouldn’t blow your mind, but it will. No matter how much you expect to be surprised.