Here is a list of some of the more prominent free agents still unsigned as we approach the first week of Spring Training:
And in addition to those names, there are 75 other players yet to ink a deal, many of them coming off solid seasons that built upon already solid careers. Of course, this is following a 2018 offseason in which almost 100 players went into Spring Training unsigned, but it is nevertheless both shocking and disappointing. And I (as well as all other baseball fans) ask: why? This article is less meant to answer that question (hint: it has to do with money) and more meant to expose the stupidity displayed by some of baseball’s most talented individuals. That Harper and Machado, the dual belles of the ball, could remain unsigned for this long (and possibly into March according to an NL executive) is absurd. Look at the NBA for example: when a star player hits the open market, teams better be ready to talk, because odds are that player is going to be snatched up real quick. However, in Major League Baseball there almost seems to be a mutual willingness on behalf of the agents (I mean players…) and front offices to participate in this crazy dance, waiting for the other to misstep or grow weary. The baseball offseason has gone from one of my favorite and most exciting things to watch to a dormant period of speculation and patience, filled only by the close of the NFL season and the start of the NBA’s (both of which produce much more entertaining offseasons now). As one writer expertly put it, the MLB practically shuts down for two months every year now, and any pre-New Year’s negotiations are out of the question.
And the worst part of it all this year is that those two aforementioned stars, Bryce and Manny, control the whole market. Of the remaining 90-odd free agents, a vast majority will not see any action or movement until the two big boys sign, as teams are both unwilling to commit to lesser players before knowing if they missed out on the stars or not AND unwilling to commit to a price for these players before seeing the determined market value of the game’s best. So to Bryce and Manny: hurry up and just sign already and let baseball be baseball. You can cry into your $300 million.