REPORT: Market So Frozen That Free Agents Are Considering Their Own Spring Training

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REPORT: Market So Frozen That Free Agents Are Considering Their Own Spring Training

Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

After each relatively notable move over the past month – and we often stretch our minds to believe that a move was “notable” – the hope has been that, yes, that’s the deal that’ll trigger this other deal which will allow this other player to sign which will open up this team to move on which will …

And it doesn’t happen. We’ve had a trickle of activity ever since the Winter Meetings, but there hasn’t been a deluge of moves. The top of the free agent class remains largely unsigned, and we are now less than three weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training.

But hey! Major moves happened last night, as the Brewers traded for Christian Yelich, and also signed Lorenzo Cain (to a market deal, by the way). Surely that combination will trigger some additional dealing, right?

Not according to Jeff Passan’s sources:

In fact, things have gotten so bad that the huge group of free agents is considering something extreme:

You can and should read Passan’s full article for so much more on the most frustrating, bizarre free agent market we’ve seen in decades. The players understandably do not want to break and accept what they perceive as under market contracts (so you could see why Cain would sign now – he actually got a market contract), as that could reshape free agency for years to come.

Teams, for their part, see such a robust group of free agents still available, that they are also digging in their heels, and staying patient. According to Passan’s sources, teams do not expect guys like Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer, or JD Martinez signing any time soon. My word.

Will those players, and the dozens of other significant free agents, actually get together for their own Spring Training? It seems logistically difficult to put together at this point, and it wouldn’t help with one of the most important aspects of Spring Training for new players (acclimating to the organization, coaches, and teammates). But at least it would give those players the opportunity to get ready for the season in some kind of organized way, and, more importantly, emphasize to teams just how serious they are about not accepting under market deals.

Suddenly, I wonder about why we haven’t heard about firm offers for guys like Darvish and Arrieta. Is it possible that it’s because neither side has an incentive to let those offers leak out? If the offers are surprisingly low, it can set a negotiating floor for the player, creating a perception for other teams that they have to beat only that low offer to get the player (and then they wind up digging in their heels on an offer they believe is much better than offers already out there). Moreover, if the offers are surprisingly low, it can fuel the perception that teams are colluding against the top free agents, raising further ire from the players and fans.


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.