12/07- Marlins trade Dee Gordon to the Mariners for 3 prospects
12/08- Angels sign 2-way player Shohei Ohtani
12/10- Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees for Starlin Castro and 2 prospects
12/12- Cubs sign Brandon Morrow
12/13- Tigers trade Ian Kinsler to Angels for 2 prospects
12/14- Marlins trade Marcell Ozuna to Cardinals for prospects
12/16- Braves trade Matt Kemp to Dodgers for Scott Kazmir, Adrian Gonzalez (later released by Braves), Brandon McCarthy & Charlie Culberson
12/20- Rays trade Evan Longoria to Giants for Christian Arroyo and Denard Span
Phillies sign Carlos Santana to 3 year, $60 million deal.
12/29- Rockies sign Wade Davis to 3 year, $52 million deal
Here’s a list of the top free agents still unsigned:
So why aren’t these star players signed to a team yet?
The main issue going on is the history of bad contracts that have been handed out to under-performing players in recent years. Teams in the past 5 or 6 years have had an issue with giving players long-term contracts for big money and almost instantly regret their decisions.
In 2014 the Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval to a 5 year, 95 million dollar deal. As many Sox fans know, he did not live up to that contract at all. In 3 seasons, Sandoval played just 161 games, with an OPS of just .646, and a batting average under .240. Sandoval was released this season by the Red Sox and will have to continue paying that salary for the next 2 seasons.
In 2016, Jason Heyward was signed to a 8 year, 184 million dollar deal to the Cubs. Although the Cubs were able to break the curse and win they’re first World Series in 108 years, Heyward has not lived up to his nearly $200 million deal. In 2 seasons with Chicago, Heyward has put up a less than impressive .243 Avg, .669 OPS and just 18 home runs. Although Heyward is known for defensive abilities, the Cubs would have liked to get a lot more out of the former All-Star.
These are just a couple examples of bad contracts in recent years, but there are many more players that have not lived up to their deals; Josh Hamilton, Homer Bailey, Joe Mauer, Matt Cain.
Recent history has jaded General Manager’s ability to hand out big money deals to free agents, while Free agents are still expecting big paychecks. With star agents like Scott Boras on their team, these players are all looking any from 150-250 million dollar deals that run for 5-7 years, but GMs recognize that handing these contracts out, especially when most free-agents are entering their age 30 seasons and have the possibility of not living up to their contracts.
Now I’m not saying this is going to turn into a stalemate between players and GMs and obviously these top free agents will eventually find a home and get a respectable contract, but the reason the free agency process is dragging on longer than expected is because many GMs now have to set the bar at a respectable level that will give players the money they want and give GMs a way out if things go south.
Who will be the first big free agent signing of 2018?
Give me your thoughts on twitter- @Jdoughy1722
Photo Source: (MLB.com)