Top Free Agents Remain on the Open Market

This off-season has probably been the strangest one I have experienced in my life as a baseball fan. We are within a few weeks of pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, yet there seems to be absolutely no urgency on the part of anyone on the free agent market to sign a deal.

Teams are sitting and waiting for bargains while players are sitting and waiting for the higher-priced deals they believe they have earned.

We are witnessing what happens when the whole league develops a stigma towards spending $100 million+ on players, which in truth is that it doesn’t work.

So what will the rest of the off-season bring?

Well someone is going to blink in most or all of these situations.

Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and Yu Darvish are not going to Spring Training without signing, whether they threaten to or not.

So what is likely going to happen?

Players are going to settle. They will have no choice. There are way too many options remaining still for them not to.

We just saw Austin Jackson prove to be the perfect example for this. Jon Heyman of the FanRag Sports Network projected Jackson to receive a two-year, $12 million contract.

What did get? Half that at two-years and $6 million.

Talk about a bargain for a player who had a 2.0 WAR in 2017 and hit .318/.387/.482 with a 131 wRC+ in only 85 games.

Obviously, I’m aware he’s not a superstar. However, he is worth much more than the money the San Francisco Giants ended up paying him.

Furthermore, its worth noting that the Giants had interest in Lorenzo Cain, but instead opted to go with a cheaper signing in Jackson as well as trade for a one-year deal in Andrew McCutchen.

So why would anyone give J.D. Martinez a seven-year deal right now when Logan Morrison or Cameron Maybin could be had for significantly less?

Why would someone give Mike Moustakas five-years when Todd Frazier can be had for two and is arguably better as examined by MMO’s own, Rob Piersall?

The answer is they won’t and nor should they.

There are so many options available right now that it is actually stunning that many players have not blinked yet.

Jay Bruce sought five-years and $90 million at the beginning of the off-season. He ended up getting a little over a third of that money on a three-year, $39 million deal.

The sad reality is that it was probably the best he was going to get in this market. The Mets were his most lucrative option.

Bruce didn’t take less to get the reunion he desired. In fact, his first choice was to go play out west in San Francisco, as his agent detailed. That ended up not happening because the Giants offered around $10 million less.

So where does this market leave someone of the ilk of former Met Lucas Duda?

Well, normally a player like Duda would receive a one-year, bounceback hopeful type deal. In this market, he might be looking to latch onto a team with a minor-league deal as he is an afterthought for many teams that still believe they are involved in the cream of the market.

The message has been made clear to the players this off-season. There are many options out there on the market and don’t expect for a second that they will hand-out the half-decade long deals of old.

About Josh Finkelstein 238 Articles
I am a sophomore at SUNY Cortland majoring in Sport Management. I have been a big Mets fan since 2007 and David Wright has and always will be my favorite player. Also, I do a podcast with one of my friends called Mets on Campus which you can find on theredbeat.com. Follow me on Twitter @JoshFinkMets