Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have been exchanging ideas about dramatic rule changes to the game, and at the very least, it's encouraging the two sides are talking. But none of this will matter if we continue seeing offseasons like the one we're currently mired in.
We are a week away from players reporting to Spring Training, and yet, the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Craig Kimbrel remain unsigned. There's...barely even chatter surrounding their cases. That's a terrible look for the league, and that's not even to mention the down-ballot players who aren't being discussed.
MLB's free-agent market freeze is bad look for industry as top free agents remain unemployed with teams reporting Monday to spring training camps. https://t.co/PKAY7x3DS1— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 6, 2019
I mean, could you imagine LeBron James being unsigned in late September, and the only two teams that have made him an offer are the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks? MLB can't have the stars of their game, in their primes, sitting at home this close to the season.
You can understand why a lot teams are steering clear from Harper and Machado, not wanting to give 10-year deals worth over $250-$300 million if they're not close to contention. But a very good utility man like Marwin Gonzalez can't get a deal?
Current #MLB Free Agents:— Nick Hamelin (@NickHamelin) February 6, 2019
Harper and Machado are not the only ones sitting by the phone. There are still roughly 100 free agents still on the market. Yes, some of them would be driven out of the game in other eras, as well, but you have All-Stars and every day major leagues not knowing where they are going to play in 2019.
For a sport that isn't a national topic anymore, what's going in free agency, especially with the top dogs, makes baseball look even worse.