Could collusion happen again?

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.”

But is it collusion or is it smarter front offices which has made offers so rare? Jay Jaffe of SI.com analyzed the top 20 of the Top 50 free agents first identified in November. He suggests

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.

42 thoughts on “Could collusion happen again?

  1. More like a collision of a rather poor FA crop and better analytics by clubs, with structural issues in baseball as a business, such that there are a limited number of clubs in the market because you can make money without putting a better team on the field and the luxury tax being so onerous that it is effectively a salary cap

    • Given the FA talent available next year, that market could be a spectator sport in its own right.

      • I’d agree with WBBsAs this. NYY went after Stanton to avoid next year’s insanity, which might actually turn out to be a good move. Looks like the Dodgers may be willing to bust open the bank for Harper, then they’ll have to repeat when Kershaw’s opt out is up. MLB becoming more like the NFL where one or two overly big contracts may limit the rest of the roster.

    • Right. The Dodgers and Yankees are both sitting this one out to get under the tax threshold so that they’re ready for next year, which means guys like Boras can’t have Jon Heyman hint that LAD and NYY are interested in their guy, because the other teams won’t buy it. Plus, some of those free agents are being unrealistic about their value. J.D. Martinez can’t field, so teams only want him as a DH, something he doesn’t want to do.

      Where the players should be focusing are teams that are taking the tax money, and then using it for something other than players (I’m looking at you Jeter). Some of the owners just don’t want to spend (the Wilpons in NY), even when they have the dough.

    • As I remember the rules, any proposed changes to uniforms can’t be implemented until the following season. One would think an exception could be made for this change.

  2. This idea is not all that unrealistic: Forsythe, Ryu, Grandal, Verdugo, Wong for Darvish and Realmuto.

    I realize Darvish would be signed as a free agent and not literally traded for but conceptually the Dodgers would be trading payroll relief for the ability to sign Darvish.

    There could be multiple teams involved but Miami would replace Realmuto with Grandal and maybe in a few years by Wong and be the team that had to find a market for Ryu, Forsythe, and maybe even Grandal for the privilege of getting Verdugo.

    Miami has an unhappy camper in Realmuto and the Dodgers could pair him with Barnes until Smith and Ruiz are ready. The Dodgers could still use a good righty bat especially since they would lose one in Forsythe.

    Such a trade helps get a free agent (Darvish) signed which would help make peace.

      • Fish could also trade them. Still question whether it would be worthwhile for the Fish to be so inventive in getting rid of Realmuto for Verdugo and Ryu, when they can probably find a cleaner deal.

    • A bit of a misdirection, given the pipeline of catchers in the organization, so as such, inspired. Realmuto is actually younger that Barnes. So what’s that leave for the Dodgers in the field? Knowing you, Joc becomes the full time CF and CT moves to second. Another wrinkle could be CT moving to CF against lefties and Barnes covering 2nd. I suppose having Darvish could make it all worthwhile.

      • I like Joc and hope he does really well but not everything I propose has something to do with Joc like you suggest. I am trying to get a stronger righty bat at catcher than what Grandal brings while taking advantage of Miami’s problem with Realmuto. Toles, Taylor, or Pederson would be candidates for CF if Verdugo and Forsythe were traded.

    • In that scenario, the Dodgers could sign Forsythe and Grandal for the minimum after they were released by Atlanta as suggested.

    • On one level, he impresses me. On another, he seems like a gimmick. If he could throw 95 from both sides, I’d be a total convert.

  3. Jon managed to annoy me a little in this remembrance of the Toaster and the Dodger Thoughts community.

    the Toaster in general and Dodger Thoughts in particular had perhaps the best community I think the Internet has ever seen. We showed how strangers could come together online and chat, debate, disagree — and still be friends in the end. I know for certain that several deep, lifelong friendships have been formed thanks to the Toaster comments section. Credit the no politics rule if you like, but even if we were arguing about the hot-button issues of today, I believe made online conversation something valuable that you could actually look forward to. Fortunately, the comments section lives on for the most part at True Blue L.A.

    What are we, chopped liver?

    • Yeah, that’s been making the rounds for a few days now, but without any details all you can say is hmmm. Not that that has kept people from speculating…

      Apparently the team doesn’t think whatever it was requires any disciplinary action on its part.