We’re about three weeks away from the start of spring training games and many high-ticket MLB players are without a team. Now, I don’t know if there’s some sort of “collusion” in MLB, if players are overstating their worth, if it’s the “evil” Scott Boras rearing his “ugly” head again, or if people are just praying the prices go down on, for instance, Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish. I really don’t know. However, for this many high-rated players to still be without a team is a bit unheard of.
I’m just going to opine a bit and possibly ramble. Stay with me.
I believe that, if things continue, you’ll have players doing a few things. Some many end up signing one-or-two year “prove it” deals after a while in hopes of resetting their value and trying again next year when Manny Machado and Bryce Harper seem to be set on becoming the first 500 million-dollar-men in sports history (and that’s not as hyperbolic as it seems, if we’re being real about it all). Some may hold out until later in spring training and/or the actual season and sign when a team needs them. Others may opt out of the MLB and go to Japan or Korea. However, I don’t really see Alex Cobb, J.D. Martinez or Mike Moustakas going to Japan or Korea. There’s almost no way that happens, Eric Thames story be damned.
You’d think that after the shoe dropped on Shohei Ohtani (and/or Giancarlo Stanton was traded), people would start gobbling up every one of the other free agents like candy.
I mean, it was pretty much like “here’s Ohtani, and there’s everyone else.”
However, we haven’t. Yes, we saw Milwaukee sign Lorenzo Cain. C.C. Sabathia reupped with the Yankees. And Carlos Santana went from Cleveland to Philadelphia (I wonder how my old college roommate feels about that move). But, again, you’ve still got pretty top-shelf players without a team mere weeks before the start of Spring Training. This is kind of unheard of. You’d expect someone like, say, Chris Tillman to sign a prove it deal with some team, any team, given his disastrous 2017. But, no. He’s still unsigned as well.
What we have seen is a lot of players who, in years past, would’ve gotten a major league deal, sign minor league pacts with teams. These deals seem to include spring training invites and a shot for players like Peter Bourjos to make a major league team. If this insanity continues, don’t be surprised if some of these players do sign minor league deals. I’m not saying we’re going to see Jake Arrieta on the Norfolk Tides or anything. But, a slow moving market met with somewhat apathy towards pretty good players means that somehow, someway, the dam will burst and something crazy will happen.
I’m just hoping that when it does, the Orioles come away with something of substance and not just a bunch of minor league players who are destined to stay minor leaguers.