Kepner: In free agency, power starts shifting back to the players

From SABR member Tyler Kepner at the New York Times on December 4, 2019:

Baseball free agency will never unfold as it does in the N.B.A., where the players largely fit into predetermined salary slots. In baseball, the players’ union has fought to preserve a market that develops organically, with real competition for free agents and no hard caps on salaries.

In recent winters, though, the players have learned that teams will not always stretch to meet their demands. When many prominent free agents remained unsigned for months, players and agents became suspicious that collusion was stifling their earning power.

“We have the freest free agency in professional sports,” Commissioner Rob Manfred declared this summer, and the early signs from this market are proving him right. The players are winning again.

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Originally published: December 4, 2019. Last Updated: December 4, 2019.