It’s no secret that the market for MLB players has been shockingly cold to date. Ironically, the fact that there are so few stories has become one of the biggest stories of the offseason. But what has perhaps gone somewhat overlooked is the slow crawl of the minor league free agent market. In a piece for Baseball America, Matt Eddy details the frigid minor league market to date. He notes that nearly five times as many minor league free agents had signed contracts by this point last offseason, and quotes an agent describing the “trickle-down” effect of the slow major league free agent market. “Teams are (emphasizing) ‘delay, delay, delay,’ hoping for players to get desperate and start signing lower deals.” says one agent via Eddy. This tactic to drive down the asking prices of MLB free agents could end up reducing the eventual contracts of MiLB free agents as well. While the worst-case scenario for major leaguers is a smaller guarantee, the fear for minor league free agents is that they might not end up with a team at all if they wait too long to sign.
More from around baseball…
- Emily Waldon of The Athletic points out that Detroit has just one available spot on the 40-man roster, along with the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft. It will certainly be a valuable pick, and with the rebuilding Tigers not expected to contend this year, they should easily be able to keep their selection on their big league roster throughout the 2018 season. Waldon also provides some notes on former Tigers who are now with new organizations, as well as a few interesting minor leaguers who are making impressions in winter ball. It’s great material for Detroit fans who are looking for some storylines to follow during a rebuilding season.
- With the non-tender deadline yesterday, many new names were added to the free agent pool. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com lists six players he thinks are likely to draw significant interest from major league clubs. Feinsand provides some helpful details on those players, including the likes of Matt Adams and Drew Smyly. It’s helpful for anyone looking speculate on how the non-tender free agents could potentially impact the free agent market.
- With the posting of Shohei Ohtani recently becoming official, ESPN’s Keith Law reveals some secondhand info he’s compiled from scouts who have seen the Japanese phenom play. Although Ohtani is able to reach the 100 MPH threshold, most scouts say the velocity of his fastball plays down a bit due to lack of movement. Many scouts also express skepticism about his ability to hit in the major leagues, citing concerns over his capabilities to both shorten his swing enough to cover the inner third of the plate and develop a “real” two-strike approach. There also seems to be some concerns about his durability and how he’ll deal with the fatigue of both pitching and hitting throughout a full season.