Baseball fans are rejoicing this week that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, bringing us one step closer to Opening Day.
It's been another miserable offseason for free agents, and Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander is fed up with it.
100 or so free agents left unsigned. System is broken. They blame “rebuilding” but that’s BS. You’re telling me you couldn’t sign Bryce or Manny for 10 years and go from there? Seems like a good place to start a rebuild to me. 26-36 is a great performance window too.— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) February 11, 2019
This is one of those areas where you can hold multiple opinions at once. Verlander is absolutely correct that the overall system is broken and something needs to be done to fix this. However, we can't destroy some of these small market teams for not spending and focusing on the future.
Let's be honest: Harper and Machado, specifically, are not signing with a rebuilding team. If they were actually open to it, why hasn't Machado signed with the Chicago White Sox and Harper with the San Diego Padres?
So then where does the money go if the players (who drive the ticket sales, tv contracts, jersey sales, etc) don’t get it?? https://t.co/LjdXdFNu1B— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) February 11, 2019
I 100 percent agree that players should be compensated handsomely. I'd rather players get paid big money than see owners stuffing their pockets. But outside of Max Scherzer, give me a mega deal that has actually worked? These astronomical contracts barely, if ever, lead to championships.
Harper and Machado are different because of their ages. However, it seems both players are dead set on getting a 10-year deal worth over $300 million. That doesn't seem like it's going to happen, and the longer they wait, the more it hurts the other free agents behind them.
MLB needs to do something to get teams more involved in free agency, and maybe it's time to enforce a salary floor. Overall, Verlander is not wrong. To have this many players without a job is bad for the sport, and if teams actually signed established big leaguers, maybe they wouldn't have to tear it down to the studs every couple of years.