​It's been a historically slow-moving free agent market in the 2018-19 MLB offseason. Many of the most talented players available, such as ​Manny Machado​Bryce Harper, and Craig Kimbrel remain unsigned.


Could it be possible that owners a colluding to lower market prices? Maybe history can guide us to the answer.​​

​​MLB owners already have a track record of conspiring together to get cheaper prices for high-end talent. It ran rampant during the mid-80s, after all.

​​In the mid-60s, Dodgers ownership attempted to lowball two of the best pitchers in baseball history, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. It took over a month-long holdout before the two signed then-record deals. 


Their efforts would lead to the development of the collective bargaining agreement.

​​The first CBA laid out the ground rules for free agency. The basic principle was that teams and players would have one-on-one negotiations with no lobbying or blackballing from their peers.

Then, along came commissioner Peter Ueberroth. He basically believed that it was absurd for the players to be receiving any kind of financially lucrative deals.

The funny part about Ueberroth's reign as commissioner was that the league didn't even attempt to cover up the fact that the owners were colluding. It was practically sponsored by the league office.


Players were being deprived of any possible leverage they could have had. 

Players were squeezed into small contracts with teams they didn't want to play for. And in a line that is all too similar to what's happening now, despite rising revenues, player salaries continued to decline. 


Hall of Famers such as Tim Raines and Jack Morris couldn't even find jobs.


For reference, the MLB recorded record revenue in 2018 yet player salaries declined for just the fourth time in the last five decades.

Fortunately, the owners' collusion tactics were brought to light. The players had finally gained some leverage in determining their free agent fates.


Or so it seemed.

Despite being busted for collusion, the owners still attempted to share information to restrict player movement! It's a little bit absurd for them to think they could get away with collusion for a third time.

The lump sum that the players were deprived of? $280,000,000. That's how much the owners had to shell out to the players in compensation.

Unfortunately, the money didn't go directly to the players. Some of it was used to pay for the expansion teams on the 1990s, again depriving the players of their hard-earned money.

Now, collusion charges have been fairly commonplace ever since, albeit not to the degree of the 1960s or 80s.

​​And that brings us to the present day. Two consecutive seasons of slow-moving markets. 


Something is clearly up. There's no way that what was once viewed as the greatest free agent market of the decade suddenly becomes a snoozefest.


The players are becoming increasingly disgruntled with what they believe is underpayment. it's only a matter of time before they reach a tipping point.