The offseason continues to move painfully slowly. With spring training on the horizon, there’s not much time left for the staring contest between teams and players to break. Indeed, the past week has yielded more news by way of shouting from players, agents and union reps than by way of actual major league signings. We’ve collected some of the reactions from around the baseball community…
- As one might expect, the colorfully hyperbolic Scott Boras has offered his input on the subject (via Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports), comparing the market phenomenon to the act of murder. “The difference between an accident and murder is intent,” Boras says. “Teams are intentionally murdering seasons and fans are dying with it.” Boras also says that the biggest issue is competition, adding that losing is only acceptable if there is an actual effort to win.
- “The list of available free agents could fill out a 25-man roster and contend for a playoff spot,” writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. Dodd also includes quotes from Peter Moylan, which provide some interesting insight into the point of view of a lower-tier MLB free agent. Moylan describes his situation in terms of the uncertainty, telling Dodd that the only thing that is a “little frustrating” is the unknown. Moylan’s examples of the unknown include not knowing where he’ll be in two weeks, not knowing where he’ll be playing during the regular season, and the resulting inability to line up housing for either. The 39-year-old righty pitched to a 3.49 ERA across 59 1/3 innings last year for the Royals, and has publicly stated his desire to remain with the team.
- The MLBPA is “laying the dynamite around itself” with its threats of spring training boycotts and accusations of collusion, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Davidoff describes Brodie Van Wagenen’s recent statement as a “boiling point of sorts,” and wonders what can possibly be accomplished by all this “saber-rattling.” Davidoff seems to downplay the anger and threats from the union and player representatives, pointing out (by way of recent words from Brandon Moss) that they chose to sign a collective bargaining agreement that rewards tanking and penalizes clubs for spending too much.
- Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated opines that the players “bargained for luxury, not labor” in his take on the subject. Verducci also highlights Moss’ words, describing the current CBA as “the deal that stiffened the soft cap created by a luxury tax threshold that hasn’t come close to keeping up with growth in revenues and payrolls.” He adds that the union celebrated something of a “Pyrrhic win” in its prevention of an international draft, which Verducci calls a bluff.
- The mystery of the bizarre offseason before us can’t be solved by simply crying “collusion,” Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes, drawing attention to multiple factors in this offseason’s pace in a piece that’s definitely worth a full read. Some of those factors include a logjam at the top of the market (perhaps caused by CBA incentives for teams to tighten their purse strings), and the perceived value of youth in baseball.
- For his part, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer is surprised that he’s headed to Arizona with so much offseason left to go. In an interview with Jesse Rogers of ESPN, Hoyer chalks the hot stove freeze up to something that seems quite simple on the surface: both players and teams feel justified in their positions. “Every team has their internal rankings,” he tells Rogers. “Every team has their evaluations which they will never reveal. Those rankings guide them through the market. Both sides of the market can always move or activate and free things up. To this point, we haven’t gotten there.”