The 2017-18 free agent drought has left plenty of players uncertain what to expect next year even with a potentially historic (albeit top-heavy) class of players set to hit the open market. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale spoke to nearly a dozen players on the matter, getting thoughts from Charlie Blackmon, Brad Brach, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, Adam Wainwright, Josh Donaldson, Pat Neshek and Evan Longoria. Some of that group are set to hit the market next winter, including Blackmon and Brach, both of whom expressed that this offseason’s market has them less excited for free agency and a bit concerned. Others such as Machado and Keuchel feel the market is in line for a correction.
“There’s too many really, really, talented players that have plaques in their houses and are generational players,” says Keuchel of next year’s class. “You’re talking about three potential Hall of Famers (Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper and Machado).” Donaldson (also a free agent next winter), Scherzer and Verlander, meanwhile, urged their fellow players to believe in their abilities, with Donaldson adding that he hopes no impending free agent is swayed into taking a poor deal before season’s end out of fear for a repeat of this winter’s market.
Some notes on the current crop of free agents…
- The Padres have had “internal discussions” about Jake Arrieta, writes FanRag’s Jon Heyman, though he notes that it’s not clear if the team has any interest in actually making an offer. Realistically, there are likely many clubs that aren’t obvious suitors for Arrieta and the remaining top-level free agents that have at least internally kicked around the idea of delving back into the open market with prices bottoming out in recent weeks. Arrieta “has the fortitude to wait things out,” per the report, however. Heyman notes that Padres sources have indicated they’re at least keeping tabs on market prices for several players, which, again, probably holds true for a number of clubs.
- Meanwhile, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to two agents who represent two of the remaining starters on the market within the past week and was told that the Padres are “looking for pitching.” However, Padres officials emphasized to him that they’re not actively pursuing arms from outside the organization and are focused on the in-house options they have — both at the big league level and looming in one of the game’s best farm systems.
- Heyman also writes that there’s still a chance the Rockies could bring Carlos Gonzalez back to Denver. The Rox have remained in touch with Gonzalez and Scott Boras, though Gonzalez is talking with “a couple” of clubs as he looks to find an offer to his liking. There hasn’t been much in the way of injuries to starting outfielders among contending clubs thus far in Spring Training, so no new opportunities for Gonzalez have really arisen.
- Jon Jay was still seeking a fairly notable two-year deal when the Orioles signed Colby Rasmus to a minor league deal, reports MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko. The O’s even checked back with Jay’s camp last week, he adds, but didn’t get any indication that Jay was willing to sign the type of contract he took with the Royals: a one-year, $3MM deal with a reported $1.5MM available via incentives. Jay fit the profile the Orioles were reportedly seeking for much of the offseason — a left-handed hitter who would be an upgrade defensively over some of their current corner options.
Padres actually have the “best” farm. Sorry Braves, Yanks and Sox.
Not to mention Margot, Hedges, Renfroe, and Asjuaje w only one year of service
Renfroe doesn’t even have one year cuz of that month he spent in AAA
And everything else not on the top 30 that would make other teams top 30
What up Ryan! Thanks for clarifying
lol, if they have one year of service that means they aren’t prospects…
He wasn’t including those guys as prospects, but as young guys who recently graduated…
The only site that agrees the Padres are the best farm is MLB pipeline. Everyone else, KL, Fan Graphs, Baseball America and Prospectus all disagree
This best farm stuff so overrated it’s part of building team not end all
LONDON BRIDGES FALLING DOWN! FALLING DOWN! FALLING DOWN!
You say that after your mock to apology the Braves, Yankees and White Sox fans. I think you’re talking out both sides of your mouth.
All these Johnny Superscouts, so amazing
Overall, their farm is between 1-3rd best in the league. It’s still quite impressive regardless of ranking.
I’m a Padres fan also, but I wouldn’t boast too much about renfroe/hedges until they can hit over .230 (although hedges defense helps him out a bit). But at this point, the Padres are considering renfroe as a platoon player if he can’t figure out right handed pitching.
I think hedges is fine; the defense will play and most catchers don’t hit much anyway. In a good season he might be Yadi Molina and that has legit value. Renfroe is more problematic, just because the swing-and-miss is so profound and the defense was so bad.
Renfroe was much better defensively 2nd half and was always considered a very good outfielder.
There were other players with more swing and miss to their game who will be playing every day in 2018 and Renfroe’s defense improved as the season went on. There were no reports on him being poor defensively in the minors and that’s not the type of thing that will be harder in the Majors.
Defense? Maybe. Right field in Petco is fairly large and players hit the ball harder and farther and run faster in the majors, mostly. A bad minor league defender soesn’t suddenly improve in the majors, but plenty of decent minor-league defenders drop off in the majors. He hopefully will improve; he’s not terribly young and I wonder how long a leash the Padres will give him.
Not really. AAA is full of guys with huge power that can’t hit Major League breaking pitches. If a guy is a bad defender in the majors that pattern generally followed them through the minors. Renfroe was always known to have a cannon but I never heard any reports on his range and routes which leads me to believe they were about average.
Ryan, you’re dead wrong. As a former minor leaguer (right fielder who made it to tripple a) I can assure you that it is different defensively playing in big league parks. I appeared in just 17 games in the Biggs and it was definatelly more challenging.
My dead wrong what?
Says the guy who upvotes his own comments and downvotes mine.
You try to sound like some kind of baseball expert, talking about how defense in tripple a is exactly the same and transfers without fail to the majors. But you literally have no experience to back your claims. I’ve been there and done it. You’re wrong, it’s not that simple. You don’t just jump from tripple a to the majors and it’s exactly the same, defensively or offensively!
I wasn’t disagreeing with you. I was stating facts based on my experience as a minor leaguer trying to make it to the big leagues. I’m not disagreeing with you at all, I’m flat out telling you that you’re wrong! Minor league defense does not equate to major league defense, there is a difference.
I have no shame. I believe I have a very valid point, but I’m done with the back and forth, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Have a good night Ryan.
And that’s all your opinion and you are absolutely entitled to that. Have a nice night!
Hello? Jimmertee is that you?
Yep spoken like a true Padre fan.
Congratulations. That doesn’t guarantee then any MLB level success. They will be lucky to be a 2020 WC contender
Good thing we are set up for the next decade
Lol keep telling yourself that. The franchise with no consistent period of success in their history is set up for the next decade because of a few prospects. They dont have anyone even close to the level of Kris Bryant or the depth of good position players the Astros have.
The Cubs have been terrific for several seasons now with a couple home-grown players (Bryant, Russell, Schwarber, Happ) and judicious free-agent signings. Comparing the 2018 Padres to the teams of the 90s or whatever is pretty silly. Different ownership groups, different era, all that. And yes, the Padres don’t have the amount of great young players the Astros have – but no team does. Not even close. The Astros were the first team to embrace the new analytics-based model of player development and acquisition and they are way ahead of the curve. It’s not quite fair to compare any team to them.
Ohh look a doyer troll
Its not trolling if its the truth . Please enlighten me on why the Padres are going to be so good. Your fanbase is hyping them up to be a super team lol
Well, none of us is a fortune-teller, of course. Maybe all the prospects bust, which isn’t unheard of, but three years ago you could have made this same comment about the Astros, who had a bunch of prospects but no major-league success. That went well for them in 2017, I think. I assume you’d agree.
Really? Havnt Padre fans been saying these sort of things the last 20 years in the middle of this long perpetual rebuild they are in?
They haven’t been in a perpetual rebuild. When you do what they did three years ago you are back to square one of the rebuild. I personally date the start of the current rebuild as June 4th, 2016. The day James Shields was traded to the White Sox.
Didn’t guarantee the Cubs or Astros any success either
Gotta agree. Saying your team has the best farm system is like saying your team “won” the offseason.
Oh wait…. the Pads did win the offseason. 😉
Not really, I don’t think signing Hosmer and trading for Galvis, Headley and Mitchell is “winning the offseason.”
I think the Angels won the offseason imo. Otani, Kinsler, Cozart, re-signing Upton, Jim Johnson and Kevin Maitain is pretty solid.
Dude, did you NOT understand the sarcasm and the wink?
I am a Padres fan too and I think you can argue for any of the top farm systems, but I don’t know if Asuaje, who turns 27 this year and is a singles-hitting 2B with average defense, qualifies as a prospect. Renfroe was really bad last year, and is also 26. Tatis and Lamet I can get behind along with some of the other lower minors guys though.
Asjuaje hit .270 last year as a rook. He will be a solid, player. Renfroe will be hit or miss but has the potential to be a monster. I like Cordero better. Lamet has good upside. Perdomo will progress this year. Question though, are our rule 5 guys from last year qualify as prospects still?
If you spent 45 days on an MLB roster you are no longer a rookie. Asuaje is pretty old for a second year player and that’s a very empty 270 – no power, walks or speed. The defense isn’t great either. It’s a utility profile. Renfroe’s swing-and-miss is profound, and the defense was brutal last season. We’ll see. He at least has power. Perdomo might settle in as a #4; he doesn’t strike anyone out and that’s a problem but he’s useful.
Lol braves will still win before padres do
NE 3 ATL 28
Atleast Atlanta still has a football team
Who’s your team?
Padres probably won’t contend until 2020, which coincides perfectly with the Giants losing MadBum and the Diamondbacks losing Goldy. Braves might be a little further ahead.
All this stuff can easily change. I mean look. TB lost Faria and Honeywell in one week
This years free agency should have Blackmon very worried. Teams aren’t paying for red flags like they used to, land his home road splits are terrifying
Sounds like a Rockies guy. They probably keep him and have let Nolan walk
Sigh…I’m not a Rockies fan, but Arenado is a beast and needs to be paid like it. If they don’t do everything in their power to lock him up as a free agent or through extension, even if it means saying bye to current stars they cannot also afford, then something is wrong.
The problem with Donaldson’s comment is he’s already been paid handsomely and is in a deserved position of testing the market. With injuries a risk as well as an untimely down year, some other players might be prudent to lock in a huge but lesser than expected offer if presented. Today’s hometown discount has more of a meaning than previously.
Does Max Scherzer have an opt out clause? I thought he was signed until 2021.
No. He didn’t say he talked to all up coming FA. Just certain players in general. Max is good till 21
Player most likely to be unsigned this time next year? I’d put my money on Donaldson.
He’s going to want a little less than Machado (instead of a little more than Hosmer) and completely ignore the part where he’s 32.
Did anybody doubt a story coming out from Heyman today about a Boras client? Guy really is a mouth piece for Boras.
Ken M, it’s embarrassing, really.
The absolute ONLY way the Padres should sign any of the big free agent starting pitchers is IF (unlikely) they are looking to do a 1-2 year deal to bump up their value. Only then should the Padres even consider signing a starting pitcher, and only with the hopes of him getting some trade value to flip at the trade deadline. Padres have too many pitching prospects coming up to be giving long term deals to the likes of arrietta, lynn, etc
Yeah I agree. As bad as the Shields signing was for the Padres.. trading him for Tatis JR makes it seem better. Signing Arietta or Lynn could be similar to Shields deal except probably won’t get stud prospect if it flops.
The Shields thing was the complete exception to the rule!
Tatis hasn’t played 1 game yet let’s not go crazy
Shields still cost padres 10 or 11 million per year that’s why they got tatis. Good thing is this is last year of paying off shields commitment
We’re in a market correction right now. Teams aren’t lining up to give players, especially starting pitchers, on the wrong side of 30 contracts of four or more years. They especially aren’t lining up to sign starting pitchers on the wrong side of 30 one year removed from Tommy John surgery to three or four year deals.
Players need to get wise that this IS the new market, at least until the next CBA.
It might be a perfect storm of events and it ISNT a market correction. I PREFER this point of view though. I’m sure I’m not the only fan tired of seeing their teams sign stupid contracts for 1 or 2 years of good production to absorb 4 or 5 years of bad production.
It’s simply every team has had a “broke the camel’s back” moment with one of these long-term contracts.
The money is there. Lynn or Cobb could have their choice of teams at 2/26. Same with Arrieta at 3/60. But they’ll have to be counting on a contender losing someone for the year during spring training if they’re going to hold out for those extra years.
We need more than one off season to be sure. They might be getting ready for 2018.
They are greedy because age wise this is their last big contract so they want those 5-7 year deal$ where the last few years of their upper 30’s they won’t be worth it and team gets ellsbury per se=toxic contract$
“We need more than one off season to be sure. They might be getting ready for 2018.”
The idea that everyone’s waiting for next year’s FA class doesn’t make sense. There aren’t 10 or 15 franchise-changing players available; there are 2 (I’m not counting Kershaw, because the odds he leaves LA are very low). 30 teams are not in the running for Machado & Harper, there might be about 6 or 7. The rest of the free agent class is filled with good players, but not players who are going to set records with their contracts, so teams holding out this year are not simply saving for next year. Because the Twins wouldn’t give Darvish $120M doesn’t mean they’re saving to give Kuechel $200M next year, and they won’t be in the running for either Harper or Machado.
It is a market correction. With the new wave of front office personnel who aren’t “baseball guys” but businessmen who take emotion out of the decisions, use analytics—production and projected production—to determine a player’s worth, we’re seeing offers based on that. As it should be.
I understand both sides. Players have the right to make as much money as they can…if it’s there for the taking they should have every opportunity to try to get as much as they can. On the other side the owners also have the right to pocket as much profit as they can too.
In a previous post I called this a perfect storm of events where teams waiting for next year is involved.
The teams that I would argue that DO have their eye on next year are competitors such as the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies etc. Who wouldn’t because as you incorrectly stated, it DOESN’T just involve two franchise changing players. As mentioned Harper and Machado really ARE franchise changing players so the teams mentioned above who have the highest revenues will be interested and could be holding back some. These teams make up a large portion of the markets spending power.
But the market next year will also include Kershaw, (why you dismiss him doesn’t make since. Any of the teams above could compete with the Dodgers for his services or a team that has leveraged their money for that year) Keushel and Donaldson. You might say Donaldson isn’t franchise changing but he is year changing. He could be a good silver metal for teams who were pursuing the aforementioned players.
So with four “franchise changers” Harper, Machado, Kershaw and Keushel, I could see 12 teams competing for these guys which includes the biggest spenders and competitors. This could significantly hold up the market this year.
And one more reason this might not be a market correction..ITS JUST ONE YEAR!!! You need more than one point of reference as proof.
I think next year’s market is really hurting the pitchers. The Dodgers and Yankees probably would’ve offered Darvish more if they could. Most of the big players are sitting out or didn’t need pitching.
I don’t know that this year’s market is now the new normal. It was just one year. I’ve read in various articles that this is a perfect storm event. If that’s true then this year will be a hiccup.
It’s probably the new normal for the types of players who are/were available this year. For the top of the market players it won’t affect them. Not one player available this year was an elite, can’t-miss free agent. If Jake arrieta was throwing the way he did two years ago, he’d have gotten close to $200M, but his production—and more importantly stuff—has declined noticeably. It’s not likely to return, but get worse, so why give him huge money? Darvish is two years from TJ, and his production—especially in the post-season—has been flawed. JDM is a one dimensional player who had a career year in a contract year…that’s the fluke, not the trend.
Next year Harper, Machado, and Kershaw will get paid big dollars. Players like Donaldson will struggle…teams aren’t going to give him 5-6 years, and he’ll be moaning about the offers, and either end up signing for 3-4 years or not at all. Blackmon will find his inflated stats will won’t generate into a 9 figure deal.
Players who are great (future hall of famers) will get paid. Players who are very good, but not elite will struggle until they realize that team’s aren’t going to pay top of the market prices for middle of the market production.
Didn’t realize the amount of potential hall of famers that could be available next season. Keuchel didn’t mention Verlander or Scherzer. While they are a little further away, Keuchel and Blackmon could end up with a hall of fame resume too. So at least 5 potential hall of fame players and maybe 7. That will certainly correct the market.
Bill James did this in one of his books – at any given year in baseball there are between 11-17 Hall of Famers; of course, we won’t know who they are for 30 years but it’s interesting to speculate who they are. Now. Obviously Kershaw, Pujols, Trout, Verlander, Cano, Beltre, Cabrera and Ichiro are the locks right now. Scherzer probably is there. Harper possibly, along with Stanton. Mauer could get in, and Votto and AGon will get looks for sure. Chase Utley has HoF credentials but the lack of even 2000 hits is going to hurt him. Yadi probably gets in just because there are so few catchers in the Hall. Interesting to think about, though.
Ken M, it’s embarrassing, really.
I don’t think Blackmon makes it to the HOF. Look at his numbers and age.
Take the one year deal and join next year’s 2018-19 Bonanza.
I don’t think Arrieta makes sense on a 1 year deal. Cobb and Lynn should absolutely take one though.
but a team has to want to give up a draft pick to get cobb or lynn for 1 year.
Or Arrieta or moose or cargo on the draft pick , coincidence they are all Borass clients?
If the Padres sign Arrieta they’ll eclipse the Yankees as the offseason’s biggest spender in increased contract commitments.
The Rockies really don’t need to bring CarGo back even at a bargain priced one-year deal. He’d only take ABs away from younger players who need the experience this year in order to step in for Blackmon once he departs in free agency.
Padres are talking about how they need pitching and aren’t committed to doing anything about it in 2018… that’s pretty much bullet 1 and 2.
Kind of stretch to say that a team has had internal discussions regarding one or many available free agent players and to infer that means they have any kind of interest in any player, let alone Arrieta. I would venture to say that just about every team has internal discussion about every FA that is available multiple times a year. I guess the article says that but kind of a silly paragraph to put in this article.
exactly. if some Padres front office people are having lunch and one guy says “wow, that Jake Arrietta is still a free agent”, and someone responds, is that an internal discussion?
It’s the kind of article that indicates a slower news day.
SFMP, you mean it’s a Heyman type article?
I’m so sick of hearing all the excuses as to why the Orioles can’t and didn’t sign players. I don’t care what he wanted for two years it wasn’t going to break the bank. It’s Jon Jay not Manny. How much lower is the payroll than last year?
If you can’t cough up money for a player that fits a need and that you supposedly want then you don’t need to be in charge of a team (owner and gm).
I cannot wait until this regime is gone. For those that say the owner isn’t going anywhere think about this. Pete is an old man and one day he to will go. They are screwed unless they win in spite of the leadership like they did in years past. Macphail built the team under Pete’s nose but he was smart enough to leave. DD let it crumble.
I don’t really follow the Orioles so you probably have experiences I don’t know about but Jon Jay is very replaceable.
Next years free agents are in for a shock…..
Should be interesting that these teams with dough to spend whose farm system in top 5 or so and close to contending in 19 or 20 IF they come out firing at the machado/ big fishes in free agency next year? WSox Braves etc? I’m sure there are more , those 2 off the top of my head
I never see anyone mention this, but when I was a kid growing up players were often excellent into their late 30s, I’m going slightly out onto a limb to say I believe the ‘roids staved off the decline longer. Now players are tested so much they can’t juice yet still believe they should be payed according to the precedent set by the contracts signed in a different era.
I love how everybody believes the Padres are “years away from contention”… we’re going to be in the mix for the 2nd WC in late August this year.
I’m as big a Padres fan as anyone but have you looked at the pitching staff? The Padres aren’t contenders in 2018; not with that pitching.
Ok just remember 4 games back of the wild card in late August…not saying they will get it but they will be around .500, like the Royals before they went to their first world series. Look at the royals 2012, 2013, and we all know about 14 and 15. As a padre fan you should be ashamed, be more optimistic.
Ok great seer of the future
I’m optimistic but also realistic; the starting pitching is really bad this year. It might be 2019 or 2020 before this team can contend.
I’m really intrigued by the padres, their young talent, and their farm system. They’re headed in the right direction for sure, but definatelly not ready to contend. As David said, their pitching isn’t there yet, that will be their biggest downfall this year. As for the rest of the team, it’s coming together nicely but they’ve still got some kinks to work out.
I’ll take “Things that won’t happen” for $500 Alex.
2019 is a more realistic timeframe for them to start competing. Although I think in 2020 they’re going to really start coming into their own.
4 games back of the wc in late August…watch it happen.
Why would you even want that to happen? All it means is they will draft lower and Preller probably won’t trade Galvis and Headley while he can.
With that rotation?? LOL
The royals couldn’t of done it without cueto and the astros couldn’t of done it without verlander, before them yall idiots were saying the same stuff. No rotation…sound familiar.
Astros pitching staff before Verlander was still respectable as was the Royals. You are really delousional comparing Padres prospects to proven major leaugers
Those proven plauers being…? Chris young? Charlie Morton? Come on list names,and career stats…hint: it argues for my side
No more like Dallas Keuchel cy young winner. Lance Mccullers. Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy. The royals rotation literally got them to a world series the year before lol. Padres have no one even close to that level
Im not saying the years they won it…im saying the year and two before…look at those rotations as well as innings pitched…that argues my side.
I’m gonna bookmark this page so that 6 months from now I can drag you for being 100% WRONG
Padres in mix for last place 2018 wise up
hurrrrr da durrrrr
Padres biggest problem is their city will probably sink into the Pacific Ocean b4 the team becomes competitive again.
At that point the only hope for Padres fans is the team moving to Vegas. If not Vegas then all these Padre dults will have to drive to Albuquerque, San Antonio, or OK City to watch their old team finally be competitive.
Aww are you mad you can’t afford to live here? Kill yourself
Longoria is not scheduled for FA until 2022 I believe. Perhaps the writer meant McCutchen?
The writer meant what he wrote. Which says he talked to players about next years free agency some of which are free agents next year some of which are not free agents next year
I thought Longoria was gonna suffer for 5 year in San Fran. I’m glad to hear he can and probably will leave now.
If the Padres can get Arrieta for cheap on a 2 year deal I don’t see why not?
Maybe 2/30? Take it or leave it contract. He could pitch at the top of the rotation and give the kids more time to develop.
Then package some of the spare parts, Spangenberg, Sczcur, Jankowski, etc. for Mchugh.
That would give the club a rotation of:
Not terrible, but if the Padres want to compete this year, they are going to need atleast 2 more competent starters to anchor the rotation.
If Arrieta was willing to take an offer that low he would have signed months ago and the Padres shouldn’t be looking to compete this year.
Bleacherbum you cannot seriously think Arrieta is taking a 2/30 deal? You would not be able to even tell him to take it or leave it they would be laughing so hard in your face.
Seriously? Take it or leave it 2/30? Haha too funny
They’d be better off saving their money for next offseason when they can sign Keuchel.
McHugh isn’t being traded for “spare parts”
Padres aren’t competing this year. What are you smoking? Please share it with me.
If I’m the padres, I’m not touching Arrieta with a 10 foot pole unless it’s on a 1 or 2 year deal.
I think that Josh Donaldson is in for a surprise.
There is no doubt that Kershaw, Machado, and Harper will receive lengthy contract with great annual pay. However, I do not see the huge change that will change how front offices will operate in the near future. , The other top agents seem to have past the prime years (in terms of age) and will probably not receive the length of contract that would have been awarded in very recent past. Most will still get paid, but not guaranteed the years that they would like (well past mid-30’s).
Only explanation for the offseason that might explain Donaldson’s stance would be that the luxury tax limited the competition from top teams (who would have only added to the overall payout for SIGNED players IMO). Otherwise, I do not think Donaldson is correct in future contracts.
Charlie Blackmon has issues with affiliation with Colorado (home/away split) and will be 32 by next season.
Adam Wainwright had two consecutive unacceptable seasons.
Pat Neshek will probably be valued as a quality reliever (unless he blows up hard this year for some reason), but I do not know the length that any team will commit to a reliever (much less one that will be 38 by next season).
Evan Longoria will be 33 by next offseason, and no longer contributes overall to the team as when he was much younger. Corner infielders with 262 BA 317 OBP 23 HR .770 OPS should not merit too much annual pay nor guaranteed years. Hopefully, there will be interest in a good MLB contract for Longoria but I would not bet for it to occur.
Josh Donaldson will be 33 by next season, but only played in 5 seasons (one more if you count 2010 30s AB). Donaldson should merit commitment and interest next offseason (barring a major falloff), but I do not see a lengthy contract though. Would probably see 3-4 years and one/two years of option with expected 20’s million annual pay. Doubt anyone would commit 5 or more years guaranteed..
Any remaining free agents who see the terms of Moustakas’ deal with KC have to be dry heaving right about now. You can keep holding out, but it’s crystal clear that the money and years expected are not there – not even close. These guys will be wishing for a deal like Wieters got from WAS last year. This is the year without a Santa Claus.