Jaffe: Finding homes for the top remaining free agents

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on February 1, 2019:

Even before this week’s polar vortex hit the Midwest and the Northeast, the hot stove had failed to generate adequate heat. It’s the second winter in a row that this has happened, this time with a much stronger free agent class. With less than two weeks to go before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, more than 100 free agents remain unsigned. According to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark, 16 teams haven’t signed a free agent to a multi-year deal, and 23 haven’t done one longer than two years. This isn’t just a matter of teams waiting out a handful of players in order to get a slight or even steep discount to fill that last need; it’s yet another sign of an increasingly dysfunctional relationship between the union and the league. As if in concert, big-spending teams such as the Dodgers, Yankees, and Cubs are suddenly turned austere, as if the goal were to fly tidier balance sheets over their ballparks, instead of championship banners.

Even some of the winter’s best free agents have yet to find a home. It’s not just Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, who ranked first and second on our Top 50 Free Agents list, who remain unsigned. Even after the Astros inked Wade Miley to a one-year, $4.5 million deal on Thursday, a total of 10 players within the top 50 are still without a home — setting the three pitchers on that list aside, that’s almost enough to fill out a makeshift lineup if the versatile Marwin Gonzalez can play two positions at once.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/finding-homes-for-the-top-remaining-free-agents/

Originally published: February 1, 2019. Last Updated: February 1, 2019.