Pitchers and catchers report today across baseball (and some yesterday), which means Spring Training is underway. But, of course, as with last season, there are still a considerable number of free agents yet unsigned. Many of them quite useful. Some of them, quite excellent.
Now the All-Unemployed Pitchers & Catchers Day Pitching Staff!
Rotation – Keuchel, Santana, Gio, Fister, Bartolo!
Closer – Kimbrel!
Setup – Madson, Norris, Clippard, Axford, Ramos, Warren, Moylan, Sipp, Diekman
Opener – Romo
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) February 12, 2019
We’ve finally reached a point where it’s not clear that the All-Unemployed Team would be competitive, so I guess that’s something. That offense could score some runs, but the pitching staff would mostly give them all back.
Nevertheless, we’re not here to build a great free agent team, and it’s quite obvious that those players up there could contribute meaningfully to teams’ attempts to contend. And on that front, a couple players are voicing their concerns:
100 or so free agents left unsigned. System is broken. They blame “rebuilding” but that’s BS. You’re telling me you couldn’t sign Bryce or Manny for 10 years and go from there? Seems like a good place to start a rebuild to me. 26-36 is a great performance window too.
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) February 11, 2019
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) February 12, 2019
Consistent with your anti player rhetoric but adjusting to this “new reality” isn’t exactly the solution either https://t.co/OT8Z9HpGgH
— Christian Yelich (@ChristianYelich) February 11, 2019
Guys like Verlander, Samardzija, and Yelich are the ones who almost have to speak out at this time. They’ve gotten their contracts (relatively speaking), and have the ability to speak publicly from a place of a little more security. When it comes to labor battles, players pretty much always lose the PR side of things, as fans love “the team,” and rebel against the “greedy millionaires playing a kid’s game.” It doesn’t *have* to be set up that way, but it does seem to be the narrative you see most often. Medium-term, the players could be trying to turn things around using social media, knowing there could be a strike or lockout in a few years when the CBA expires.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, of course. Hopefully the best players get jobs that pay them appropriately given the value they can provide and the league’s revenues. Like last year, I’m just ready for baseball to be baseball at this point, and that means I want to see the best players have jobs, be in spring camp, and be prepping for the season.
Samson, by the way, is the former Marlins executive who served under former owner Jeffrey Loria. I’d imagine Yelich doesn’t feel a lot of love lost.
Not anti-player and certainly not anti-you. Definitely anti-Boras and anti- players who misread their value in the market. Big difference. Careful what we all wish for. Strikes/Lockouts are not the panacea.
— David P. Samson (@DavidPSamson) February 11, 2019