All 30 Major League Baseball teams are in the midst of Spring Training, running their camps in either Arizona’s Cactus League or Florida’s Grapefruit League.
Teams are becoming acquainted with their prospects, evaluating those who were given big-league invites, while also growing accustomed to new faces after making splashes in the free agent market.
- The San Diego Padres accelerated their competitive clock by signing 3B Manny Machado to a 10-year, $300 million deal made official on February 21st.
- The Philadelphia Phillies were able to land OF Bryce Harper shortly after, inking him to a 13-year, $330 million deal with no opt-outs.
The MLB offseason free agent market moved slower than anticipated, and many insiders thought that once the most notable likes of Machado and Harper signed, other dominos would quickly fall. However, with Opening Day set to take place later this month, many of the sport’s big-name players still remain without a team.
Such names include:
- SP Dallas Keuchel (Age 31, WAR 3.6)
- RP Craig Kimbrel (Age 31, WAR 1.6)
- SP Gio Gonzalez (Age 33, WAR 2.0)
- OF Adam Jones (Age 33, WAR 0.5)
- OF Carlos Gonzalez (Age 33, WAR 1.7)
The “speed” of this offseason has raised questions regarding the current state of free agency, and some organizations are beginning to dedicate efforts to avoid it altogether for their star players.
- The Rockies agreed to terms with 3B Nolan Arenado on a $260 extension that runs through the 2026 season. Arenado was slated to lead next year’s free agent class, but the Rockies showed they want to avoid free agency negotiations.
- There have been reports of the Angels looking to give Mike Trout an extension to avoid free agency after the 2020 season.
It will be interesting to see where the remaining free agent pieces end up, and how the market will change as the season progresses.