Whether MLB teams are currently participating in any sort of collusion, which is TBD, there’s no denying this offseason has been sloooooow. Like watching a sloth try to swim in a vat of molasses while grass grows in the background.
More than 100 free agents are still unsigned, and pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than a month. This is all fine and definitely not out of the ordinary. Scott Boras, one of the top agents around, still has four high-level free agents waiting a deal, and we’re halfway through January.
J.D. Martinez has already reportedly revealed that he is willing to hold out on the teams that are bidding for him right now until he gets a better offer — whether that comes in the form of additional years or more money. Now, another top free agent is also reportedly willing to hold out ... but for a much longer period of time should the right deal fail to come.
In a recent story from Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, he reveals that a free agent told a friend that he’d be okay keeping himself on the sidelines until his asking price is met.
Recently, one of the best free agents available this offseason met with a friend, and he admitted something shocking: He was preparing to sit out until the middle of the season. The market for his services this winter was so thin, the offers so incompatible with his production, that he worried he was going to need an external force to compel teams to pay him what his numbers say he’s worth. Maybe it would take a playoff race.
As the free agent in question spoke off the record, who it could be is left to speculation and conjecture. It could even be Martinez, simply taking his threat to hold out on a contract from the offseason into the 2018 season itself.
But there are also Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, or Yu Darvish to consider, among many others. Any of these players could be willing to hang out at home until a team offers them whatever they think they are worth. No matter who it is though, the players being shortchanged don’t seem to be taking this skimpy market lightly.