So Many High-Profile Free Agents Are Still Unsigned MLBPA Is Planning Its Own Spring Training
With pitchers and catchers reporting to camp next week, and so many well-known, high-profile free agents remaining still unsigned, the MLBPA is preparing to hold its own Spring Training for these players still without a team.
With as many as 100 players in total still unsigned, many are comparing the current situation in Major League Baseball to the collusion team owners participated in during the mid-1980s. While that seems like a bit of a stretch, there is no doubt that this year’s hot stove has definitely been the coldest it’s been in years.
Many teams are simply saving their money for 2019’s free agent class which has the potential to include such big names as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Craig Kimbrel, Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon, Elvis Andrus, Andrew McCutchen and Daniel Murphy, and more.
That being said, when players with the resumes possessed by the likes of J.D. Martinez, Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland and Jonathan Lucroy remain unsigned this close to Spring Training it is unusual.
Which is why the players’ union is making preparations to possibly open their own Spring Training site in 2018, according to Yahoo! Sports.
With 30 camps set to open early next week and an unusual number of players still without contracts – some among the top free agents on the market – the union is investigating sites in Florida and Arizona in case it determines a 31st camp is necessary. The IMG baseball academy in Bradenton, Florida, was believed to be among at least three options. The union also is identifying coaches and other personnel to staff the facility.
On Tuesday, Players Association executive director Tony Clark expressed frustration as to what these dozens of free agents are supposed to do with Spring Training camps about to open.
“That is a good question for [MLB commissioner Rob Manfred] to be asked,” Clark said. “We’re all a part of the industry. There are a historic number of free agents available. These guys can’t make offers to themselves. There must be some level of engagement. … There are a significant number of players who aren’t weighing any offers or opportunities.”
The first position players begin reporting to camp on February 18 with the first spring training games starting on the 23rd.
Yahoo! Sports had previously reported that “teams don’t believe a deal is close for Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, Jake Arrieta and other top free agents.”
So far, that still seems to be the case.