The MLB is ripping off its own talent

Ed Murphy, Photo Editor

With pitchers and catchers soon to report to their respective training facilities, another offseason is coming to a close. An offseason full of disappointment for many expecting multiple record breaking deals. The 2018-2019 offseason was marked on the calendars of nearly all MLB teams. The amount of young star power available this offseason is unprecedented in modern baseball.

Shortstop Manny Machado and outfielder Bryce Harper have long been the two center pieces of this fresh crop of free agents and neither have yet to sign a contract less than 12 days before the mits start poping in Arizona and Florida.

The expectation coming into this winter was that one, or possibly both, would break Giancarlo Stanton $325 million guaranteed contract. There have not been many hints towards this possibility. Buster Olney reported that Machado was offered $175 million over seven years, a far cry from the $30-$35 million annual average over the 10-15 years some were expecting.

Among Machado and Harper, there were many other star players who have either not come to an agreement with an employer or have taken a below market deal. Michael Brantley, Craig Kimbrel, and Dallas Keuchel are examples of such.

In his prime, Brantley was a perennial MVP candidate with his combination of speed, power and ability to get on base. He has had few down seasons due to injury, but two years for $32 million is not what most expected for a former MVP candidate.  Kimbrel had intentions of being the highest paid relief pitcher in the league. Still unsigned without much chatter on the wire.

Keuchel was the second highest rated starting pitcher this offseason with his sights set on a $100 million contract. Most recent reports are more in the range of $60 million with the high point of $80 million over four to five years.

This is a concerning sign for player and fans alike. With the salary cap increasing with each passing season, the expectation is for teams to spend more and put a winning product on the field. But as recently shown with teams such as the Phillies, the White Sox and the Marlins teams are willing to tear down everything and go on a half-decade of losing and acquiring talent.

Both players and fans have a right to be upset with their MLB’s lack of free agent action or their state of rebuild around the league. This unhappiness may be a precursor to a possible player strike when the current collective bargaining agreement is over. Stay tuned.