Kenley Jansen is wondering that. He suggested that there may even need to be a strike to unlock the free-agent market, which so far this off-season has seen “eight of the top 10 free agents from MLB Trade Rumors’ top 50 list…still in search of teams for 2018.”
Of the seven pitchers, four had Tommy John surgery within the last three years, and all hit the disabled list at least once, with Arrieta the only one not to miss at least a month due to an arm injury. Of the 13 position players, just two will start the 2018 season still in their twenties. Only two rank among the top five at their positions in three-year WAR, while five were in the lower half of qualifiers.
As he says, if he can figure this out with a little effort, the analytical teams in each front office can do the same.
If I were a player who’d been counting on at least one big payoff in salary and length of contract in my career and had finally reached free agency, I’d be feeling a little annoyed and a little worried right now.
Of course, it could be both smarter front offices and collusion.