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Why baseball should set free agency ASAP



] At this time, the 97th day free agency is released four days before the first spring and spring traps, less than six weeks before Major League Baseball opens its regular season, the two best free agents for more than a decade remain unemployed. This is not a black eye for baseball. It is a torn spleen, a punctured lung and a lacerated kidney.

What error, this offseason. No matter how much Bryce Harper and Manny Machado ultimately account for, wherever they end, it is now more than three months of stagnant and feinting, shooting and lowballing. This winter was supposed to be all fireworks. Instead, it's a sparkler.

No one is satisfied with this. Fans are rightly tired of waiting and guessing. Intrigue has developed into irritation. Players are clearly questionable about the market ̵

1; and the league's intentions. MLB is understandably embarrassed that two of its best players are preparing for an unfortunate uniform swap – baseball jersey and pants for pajamas – as they entertain the opportunity to miss the start of spring training.

2 Related

This cannot continue – unless the MLB and MLB Players Association are so irreconcilable in their positions that they will stop feeding coal to their mutually beneficial sauce simply to make a point. That is why the unusual step of extensive conversations in the middle of a collective agreement that started on January 14 with the league and continued through the opponents Friday of the players was so welcome.

The pages appear to be able to work together, and among the list of items on the topics discussed, ratification of new rules will go a long way towards strengthening a relationship with a great need for repair. There will be a 20-second pitch in 2019 – and rather than forcing Commissioner Rob Manfred to unilaterally implement it, as is his right, the association should seek reasonable concessions, such as The expansion of the regular season roster to 26 players along with the league's request for a contraction of emerging September rosters.

Do so and then cautiously approve for the 2020 League's pursuit of a minimum of three canisters and the Association for all 30 teams to use the designated Hitter. Make a deal. Set an example. Thaw the tangible dissent. Then you promise to return to the negotiating table shortly afterwards and solve a problem that everyone is responsible for.

Free agency when MLBPA's raison d 'eters, once in MLB's offseason, are broken. And although no one on both sides likes to use that word, the argument is only semantic. Broken does not mean that the repair does not exceed. That means something bad has happened and it has. Where everything goes side by side is the immediacy that each side blames the other. It is toxic. MLB says players are unrealistic. Players believe that owners are tight. They sniper and blame and apologize, and all the time on the road side is financial peace, lacking as if they were hit by an 18-wheel.

This is not to say that negotiations are getting easier. It won't. And yet after the subsequent winters, when the biggest free agents waited months to sign, it means less who is responsible and more who is willing to solve the problem. It says a lot, because responsibility is central to this story. The League failed to see the consequences of the deal it negotiated to play out in such a dystopian way for players. MLB has created an environment where its defining ideology – urgency – has been replaced by a corporatized fealty for efficiency.

Everyone is guilty. Together, MLB and the association are the shepherds of the sport, and they have guided it to a dangerous place where players are already beating marketing money in anticipation of a work stoppage – one should note that this is completely unnecessary given that the current collective agreement runs for almost three years.

It couldn't be more than the most durable, even though it reflects the match position that players are preparing to adopt. They are frustrated. They see revenue rising. They fear wages, for the second consecutive year falls. They relate to the non-competitive behavior, with union calculations showing that 18 teams carry pay slips of at least $ 50 million below the $ 206 million luxury tax limit, 14 teams are $ 75 million plus under and eight teams are over $ 100 million below.

The league cannot mandate that any of its 30 teams use. It understands what each team – and the truth is told, the smart players – understands: After years of an irrational free market where they paid players in their 30s for performance in the 20s, teams are on to end that foolishness. They rely more and more on analytical evaluations of players. These calculations, but not infallible, are rooted in mathematics, logic and history. In a vacuum, the numbers alone make a compelling case.

He is 37 and throws 99. Baseball's best comeback story will be played during spring training. Jeff Passan »

Of course, free agency does not exist in a vacuum. So many small items lead to mature market players such as Harper and Machado warrant. Their free agency is confusing, especially in a system that spans wealth. They want to be in spring training, meet their new teammates, get ready for the season. They also do not want to accept an agreement for less than what they think their market should be.

This is the difficult part. What should their market be? The union has since its childhood joined the free market principles – a confidence that as long as the free agency was really free, teams would prioritize winning enough to create bidding war and drive the prices of that persecution. The theory is reasonable. It worked for 40 years.

During the last two winters it has not. And while having tensions that fruit the market may seem reactionary until the pages can make wholesale changes, it would serve a mutually beneficial purpose. Players would be happy. Holds, most of which operate as monetary presses, would not risk the consequences of a work stoppage that impedes a strong business. Especially when the reason for the strong business is threatened by reduced participation, reduced national relevance and lack of new young fans. The best long-term solution, half a dozen people who span the league, the union, the player and the agent agree, is a proper distribution of money – more to the youngest and most productive players. As you know, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, both of whom are 26 years old.

It can be the craziest part of the whole winter: Harper and Machado should be them. The winter meetings in Las Vegas should start an activity festival. There should be clarity, which would lead to tension on the way to spring training. Well, spring training is close to what should happen, and while the conversation about Harper and Machado continues to percolate on television, from the radio and in barstools, it is twisted with deterioration, negative connotation – none of the things you will have associated with your product. This free-agent period is close to its end, with only 30 players remaining, who appear to receive big league deals and another 70-plus will recognize that they will soon sign a non-guaranteed one. less league deal.

What talented stars tomorrow found a home on this year's list?

Individual players: Just missed | Top 100: 100-51 | 50-1 | Impact 20

Team placements: Ranking all 30 farming systems | AL East | AL Central | AL West

This split of the market led to the biggest news Wednesday: Harper had met the day before in Las Vegas with a cohort of San Francisco Giants representatives, a wildly successful, wildly rich baseball team with $ 500 million in annual revenue . This meeting did not take place on the first or tenth or even 50th day free agency because it did not need. The hunters, cautious about Harper's actual market, figured they could wait. Then they waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited almost three months more until they went to Vegas for a very high return. Perhaps Harper would fall in love with the idea of ​​the Jews. Perhaps he would budge for his prize – although the only sense of the prize is the reported 10-year $ 300 million deal, Harper has turned down from Washington citizens in September.

The Giants & # 39; thanks simply the norm now. In the NBA and NFL, the free agency is free for everyone. In baseball, it sets free in freezing. And it is good for no one, least of all the fans who have to tune in to Day 98, 99, 100, see no status change and light a sparkler in honor of a broken winter.


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