I know we all think the Detroit Tigers aren't doing much this winter, especially as we climb the walls while waiting for the team to add a reliever to their bullpen. But unless you're the New York Yankees or Mets, it hasn't been that active an offseason for any team in baseball.
The hope is that one signing might unclog the pipes, but CC Sabathia didn't get the pitching market rolling, nor did Mark Teixeira open up the market for hitters. Even after a little spike of activity earlier this week, with Milton Bradley and Pat Burrell finding gainful employment, big names like Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, and Bobby Abreu are still looking for contracts. The below-market deal that Brian Fuentes signed should've loosened up the bullpen market, yet middle relievers and closers (other than Trevor Hoffman) are still idling.
So how slow has it been? The New York Times' Ben Shipgel breaks it down:
Through Jan. 7, 2008, 42.4 percent of the available free agents (81 of 191) had signed contracts. Of the 191 players, 148 filed for free agency after the playoffs and 43 were not tendered contracts by their teams. Most of the 81 players who did sign, received major league deals, though some were of the minor league variety.
Through Wednesday, on 35.6 percent of available free agents (76 of 213) had signed. Of the 213 free agents, 171 filed for free agency and 42 were not tendered contracts.
This is going to carry right through into Spring Training, isn't it? There are just too many players waiting to be signed, and several teams (such as your Detroit Tigers) still figuring out how much money they can spend in this beaten-down economy. How many rosters are truly going to be set when pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks? Or is there a shopping/signing spree to come?