Well friends, here we are. The end of another action-less week. In February. Past packing day. With nothing ahead of us to indicate when this free agent standoff might shake loose, and only angry public pronouncements from player agents to pore over.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t rumors. There are always rumors!
- For example, Rangers GM Jon Daniels says even more clearly what we already thought we knew, but then weren’t sure of, but now know again: the Rangers are really, really unlikely to bring Yu Darvish back to Texas.
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) February 2, 2018
- [Brett: It’s not just the quote there; you can hear it in the way Daniels is discussing the situation. It’s like he knows he’d want to go after Darvish, but it just isn’t going to happen. And he’s sad about that.]
- With the Dodgers and Yankees still stuck under the luxury tax threshold, the only reasonable destinations (and even this is arguable) include Minnesota, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis (?), Anaheim (?), and Philadelphia (?). All of which is just more reason to understand why the Cubs, in particular, might be really slow playing this (also, there are those rumors about him wanting something like seven years and $175 million). You know the drill.
- Have you been following along with the multiple player agents who’ve spoken out today against the owners and the frozen market, with some suggesting – or, at least, strongly hinting – that there’s been collusion? It’s been wild, to say the least, and could be scary very soon, to say the most. And while many factors – including tanking – are justifiably playing their role in this market, Andrew Baggarly offers another angle to the lack of spending:
I understand the focused angst in Pittsburgh and Miami, because they traded away stars. By comparison, though, it feels like the A's and others have gotten a free pass. If I'm an A's fan, I'm ticked off. Have they just worn everyone down after operating this way for so long? pic.twitter.com/TyrFxwYR6s
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) February 2, 2018
- Obviously, some of those teams (like the White Sox) are pulling the straight up tank and rebuild move, but others (like the A’s and Rays) are simply continuing to not spend year after year after year. Countering this point, though, is the fact that the Padres are apparently trying very hard to sign Eric Hosmer to something like a seven-year, $140 million deal, while the Phillies are still sort of at least hanging around in the market for a big starter.
- All that said, one thing we see every year is a player or two – or several more, as this year’s case may prove – misreading the market’s value for their services, and squandering early offseason opportunities:
Three-years, $52 million.
What was Holland thinking?
— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) February 2, 2018
- Heart: It’s a bummer that Holland might have to settle for so much less money than he could’ve taken. And I feel for him and many other free agents that won’t get deals they might’ve planned their lives around (that’s genuine). Head: … he had an offer on the table that would’ve paid him a higher AAV than any reliever has ever made in the history of baseball and he turned it down.
- I’m not really sure what to say. It’s not like Holland, individually, is yelling “collusion,” but at the same time, he’s certainly being used as an example of the bad faith among owners, since he’s a quality player who is still unsigned here in February. And yet, here we are, presented with evidence that he could’ve made himself one of the highest paid relievers ever. How can we be riled up in either direction right now? We really can’t say what’s going on until these final deals are sewed up.
- To that same end, I keep seeing articles like this one: Baseball Payrolls Could Drop for First Time in Nearly a Decade as Free-Agent Freeze Deepens, and it’s just so frustrating. Despite lines like this, “Teams have committed nearly $285 million less to player salaries in 2018 than their opening day payrolls in 2017,” being technically correct, they ignore the fact that there are still so many high-priced free agents out there. And do not get me or Jeff Passan wrong (because he correctly and immediately points this out, too), teams very well may not be paying what they probably should or would have in the past to get these guys, but I guarantee that Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer, and J.D. Martinez, alone, will cut that figure by upwards of $100 million … and then there’s still another 50+ free agents, many of whom will get significant deals.
- Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic discussed all of this and more on Sports Feed. Among his most notable thoughts, is the fact that none of us can credibly make predictions anymore. This is just not a normal offseason and we have to get used to that:
- In his second segment, Sharma also confirms our suspicions that if the Cubs fail to land Darvish, they’d probably be more inclined to land Alex Cobb (because of the perceived discount) than Jake Arrieta. And if they fail to land all three, Brett discussed the other free agent options earlier today.
- Speaking of Arrieta, this is nothing more than some conspiracy fun … probably:
- Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if the Mets saved the offseason? According to ex-Mets GM and and current analyst Jim Duquetete, MLB’s most notoriously confusing front office spenders might be in on the bidding for one of Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb: “The Mets are starting to target an innings eater,” Duquette said on SportsNet New York. “Not Darvish or Arrieta but that next tier: Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Jason Vargas. That type of group.” Alright then, Mets, let’s see it. Kick start this market into high-gear, eh?
- ANOTHER BREWERS TRADE!?!?!? OK, it’s just a small one:
Catcher Andrew Susac has been traded to Baltimore in exchange for cash. Susac had been designated for assignment by Milwaukee on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/ZjKUiuFeB2
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) February 2, 2018
- Although your first reply to that tweet is funny (and, honestly, something we were probably all thinking) – “Is it enough to sign Yu?” – Susac was making just the Major League minimum last season. So whatever cash the Brewers are saving in this deal, it is not going to put them over the top for Darvish.
- And finally, according to Ben Lindbergh, the Marlins may have halted their trading activity (think J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro), but even if that’s true, they’ve already taken their tanking to record lows. Essentially, the Marlins have traded away 20.3 WAR already this offseason which is the most in baseball since the turn of the century … the 20th century. Yep, the only more devastating offseason sell-off was in 1899. Probably can’t blame that one on Jeter.