Baseball is Near and Free Agents Will Never Get the Money they Used to Get
There is change afoot as we creep ever so close to the beginning of Major League Baseball's Spring Training.
We're less than a week away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting to various camps in Arizona and Florida yet nearly 100 free agent players remain unsigned.
The Players Union and Agents are so panicked at this thought they've begun making plans for a "Free Agent" camp somewhere in Florida to get those players ready in the event one gets a deal to join a team.
The issue at play here is actually rather simple. It's MONEY.....
Players and their Agents are looking often for max deals for as many years as they can trying to take advantage of a system and league that is currently flush with money.
However the teams are not looking to spend said money. And to be perfectly honest, they probably never will spend like they used to ever again.
No more $200-plus million dollar mega deals for 30-plus year old Albert Pujols's. In fact the likelihood of an over 30 free agent getting a multi-year, 9 figure contract is over.
The reason for it is actually pretty simple: Logic
Think about it...almost every team has embraced the philosophy of building young. By that I mean growing their own players or acquiring young players with room for growth rather than spending big on "Big Name" players on the decline.
It's a cold, harsh reality but Baseball teams, flush with MBA's and other business types in the front office finally discovered the simple credo of why spend late when you can spend early.....
I guess you can say it is a form of "Age" discrimination but in professional sports....it's business.
Look at the Cubs and Astros. Most--though not all of the players dotting both lineups are home grown. Houston features George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correia all who came up through their system.
Same with Chicago, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo came through the system--they picked up a young, raw Addison Russell from Oakland and developed him.
That is the future of baseball.
Look at teams like Atlanta, The Chicago White Sox, Minnesota and Philadelphia---all are building through the system or making trades for young players who've yet to develop.
It pays off.
For decades, baseball was rife with teams like the Angels who would spend hundreds of millions on Free Agents and finish in the middle of the pack. Teams like the Mets and Yankees and even the Cubs would do the same. Grab whichever big name player was out there and trot out an older, big name lineup which rarely delivered.
Look, I get it. The agents and the Union are looking out for their own pocketbooks and they have every right to do so. The objective is and always should be to get the most money they can for the players.
But the days of a Scott Boras telling his clients to hold out to the last possible second to get money are likely over.
It's not to say that a 32-year old productive player can't make money. Heck, .220 hitting Todd Frazier just got 2-years and $19 million to play 3B for the Mets because he can field and hit homers. There are places for Free Agents on every team. But after the Cubs basically blew 9 figures on underproductive but good on defense Jason Heyward, don't expect teams to be eager to sign any big deals any time soon.
But I could be wrong.....