Except for some interesting deals and trades, the market has been pretty slow so far. It’s understandable. Teams and Major League Baseball itself lost millions after a shortened season due to COVID-19, besides it’s not clear whether the National League will again include again the designated hitter.
Those two aspects have helped lengthen everything. Names such as George Springer, Trevor Bauer, Liam Hendricks, and Marcell Ozuna remain without a team for next season. And, considering current circumstances and recent history, you shouldn’t expect them anytime soon.
Why? Well, I did some research and took a look at 2017, 2018, and 2019’s top free agents according to MLB Trade Rumors. And despite some exceptions, almost every world-class free agent has taken his time to reach an agreement.
Take a glimpse at 2017’s top five...
- RHP Yu Darvish: signed with the Cubs on February 13, 2018.
- DH JD Martínez: signed with the Red Sox on February 26, 2018.
- 1B Eric Hosmer: signed with the Padres on February 19, 2018.
- RHP Jake Arrieta: signed with the Phillies on March 12, 2018.
- IF Mike Moustakas: signed with the Royals on February 19, 2018.
Everybody shook their hands after January. And we didn’t have a pandemic, a difficult economic situation, nor an NL designated hitter debate between 2017 and 2018. So I still believe it will take some time for the best players to sign.
There weren’t many exceptions in the 2018-2019 class, either...
- RF Bryce Harper: signed with the Phillies on March 2, 2019.
- 3B Manny Machado: signed with the Padres on February 21, 2019.
- LHP Patrick Corbin: signed with the Nationals on December 7, 2018.
- LHP Dallas Keuchel: signed with the Braves on June 7, 2019.
- RHP Craig Kimbrel: signed with the Cubs on June 7, 2019.
As you saw above, the only one to reach a deal before 2019’s end was Patrick Corbin, that is, only 10 percent of the aforementioned group signed early. Even though the three most important Scott Boras’ clients (Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Anthony Rendón) found a new team before 2020, it wasn’t the same for everyone from the 2019-2020 class.
- RHP Gerrit Cole: signed with the Yankees on December 18, 2019.
- 3B Anthony Rendón: signed with the Angels on December 13, 2019.
- RHP Stephen Strasburg: signed with the Nationals on December 9, 2019.
- RHP Zack Wheeler: signed with the Phillies on December 9, 2019.
- 3B Josh Donaldson: signed with the Twins on January 22, 2019.
I believe that at least Springer, a client of Excel Sports Management, will take his time to sign. He’s arguably the best hitter on the open market and has the full package. Besides, hopefully, the Astros will make a competitive offer and will push for him to re-sign with them. So Springer’s decision might not come in the next few days or weeks.
When do you think Springer will sign?
This poll is closed
Before January 15
After January 15, but before February
After February 1