The 2018 offseason has been like no other before it. There are four premiere free agents that are still left unsigned as spring training gets underway. Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are all left unsigned despite their undeniable talent. This list doesn’t even include the other free agents left unsigned like Mike Moustakas and Marwin Gonzalez.
Why aren’t these players signed? The new general managers and coaches of the MLB have come to a common consensus that a player past age 32 isn’t really worth giving guaranteed money to due to how previous deals have performed. Bryce and Manny have been searching for 8-10 year deals but teams do not want to give those out because of how large contracts like those have played out for players like Albert Pujols.
Are the players asking for too much? Simple answer, no. The owners of these MLB teams are all insanely rich. Giving out $300 million over 10 years would not be too much for them to give out at all. In fact most of the, have tricked the fan base into thinking the players are the ones being cheap, not the owners. For most teams it just comes down to what the front office is willing to do. If the general manager wants to go out and sign a player at a mega deal, most have the freedom to do it. The problem is none of the will do it.
Recently, star players like Justin Verlander and Adam Wainwright have spoken out on the free agency issue. On Twitter Verlander (@JustinVerlander) said: “100 or so free agents left unsigned. System is broke. 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?…”
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals starting pitcher said on a local television station “Unless something changes, there’s going to be a strike. 100%. I’m just worried people are going to walk-out mid-season.” A strike in the middle of the season? It’s very possible if something doesn’t change. If players don’t feel like they are being treated fairly then there could definitely be a walk out mid season.
Phillies starter Jake Arietta also spoke on the free agency concerns. “I was in that same boat. From the outside looking in, from the fan perspective, people think we’re not just signing, or guys are turning deals down. The truth is, the right deal for those guys might not be there. They want to be here. They want to be in camp with their teammates. That was the hardest part for me, not being in Clearwater with these guys for the first three weeks – not getting to develop those relationships, get to know the catchers, the coaching staff. That’s tough.
I believe all four players along with the other free agents still available will eventually find their deals, but will likely get less years and less money than they wanted. I just want players to sign before spring training officially gets underway because it does not look good at all for baseball with all these guys not being on a team. Let’s hope it gets fixed quickly.
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