When the wrong things are demanded

It's March and there are still a slew of free agents available. The slow market has set the stage for "record march spending". With the new CBA not that long in the review mirror, it seems like the players union focused more on little things and not enough on the bigger picture.

What picture would that be? By heavily penalizing the spending teams on signing free agents, it has basically set up many of the free agents with compensation picks assigned to them to be well... still free agents in March. The original list of comp picks attached to players included the following players: Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland, and Carlos Santana. Of that list, only 4 of the 9 have signed. Not even half. Sure there are several other players not on this list not signed that are still solid players like Neil Walker, Carlos Gonzalez, and Jonathan Lucroy. Still, I can see all these players latching on to another team easier once their demands come down a bit.

For those with a qualifying offer (QO) given though, it could be an even longer wait. To say this market of top tier players does not also affect the rest of the market would also be foolish. Teams are most likely debating the costs of not only the players, but what they lose in return. For example, let's look at the Tigers who paid the luxury tax last year (just like the Dodgers, Yankees, Giants, Nationals). If the Tigers thought they could get a deal on one of the five players they would likely sign that player and then turn around and try to flip them at some point. However, they would lose in the Rule 4 draft (the draft in June) second round pick, fifth round pick, and $1 million in slot bonus for international signing. Being that Tigers have the first pick in each round, that loss would be pretty big.

In 2017, that first pick in the second round was worth $1,846,100 in slot value. and the fifth round slot value was $378,700. Of course, that value should go up a little bit in 2018 too, but using just those figures that is a loss of $2,224,800 in slot value and 2 players to develop... and that does not include the Intentional penalty. That in some ways could be viewed as an even bigger hit. $1 million is more than 21% of their base spending budget (which is $4.75m).

Yes teams can trade for more slot money, but that is even limited to how much that can go up and seems to not be cheap be acquiring from other teams. Rangers are trading away players in an attempt to amass enough funds to sign Julio Pablo Martinez. In doing so, they have already given up two decent prospects for what looks like just $600k in slot money. So that should show how much value teams are putting on that slot money right now.

So then I come back to the 5 players still waiting for a nice sized contract. Will they all sign this month? Possibly. Still though I wonder... maybe teams will wait until June 15 when they no longer have to pay the stiff penalties of the new CBA? Not only that, but it would be like making a trade for a team in the hunt without having to actually give up a prospect to get it... but instead gain not losing prospects and flexibility.

I will say this though about the new system, it will give smaller market teams a stronger chance to compete because the larger spending teams will not be spending. So while the best players might not be on the field, the competition of play should start to level. My guess is that if these players with QO's do get signed before June 15th... it will most likely be by a smaller market team getting a heck of a deal.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.