Batting Around: Would a free-agent signing deadline fix the MLB offseason or just punish players?


Throughout the offseason, the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we debated the best team in the AL. This week we’re going to tackle the idea of an offseason free-agent signing deadline, as commissioner Rob Manfred has suggested.

Does MLB need a free-agent signing deadline?

Matt Snyder: I don’t think it’s possible to do a hard deadline, but I’d love to see a break. Something like the end of the winter meetings being a deadline and then the first day of spring training opening up again for any players who didn’t sign before the end of the winter meetings. I’ve called for this before in a Snyder’s Soapbox. 

Dayn Perry: I’d say no. I like having it spaced out, even if that entails some dead periods, such as the current one. I think signing deadlines make sense in capped leagues, where free agents are, in essence, scrambling for their share of a strictly limited pool of money. I’d prefer MLB’s free-agent market to play out without additional interference. 

R.J. Anderson: I don’t think it needs one. This winter has been oddly paced for various reasons – Ohtani and Yamamoto’s free-agent tours, the uncertainty in some front offices about local television deals, and so on – and I think that’s contributed to the feeling that something needs to be done. I’m not sure there’s a real solution to be found through added governance. If you do install a hard stop in December or January, at some point, you have to open things up for business again ahead of spring training. What’s stopping teams/players from doing the same slow dance under those conditions? Maybe your solution is adding additional measures – say, no multi-year contracts, automatic no-trade-clauses, or whatever – but that will favor one side or the other too much and incentivize the kind of behavior you’re trying to stop in the first place. 

Mike Axisa: MLB could use something to liven up the offseason, but I think a signing deadline is the wrong way to go about it. The penalties for not signing before the deadline have to be equally hard on the team as the player, otherwise it will just be a mechanism teams use to squeeze players into below-market contracts. An offseason trade deadline might make more sense. Cut off trades on, say, Dec. 15, and teams will have no choice but to pursue free agents to upgrade their roster. I’m open to ideas to spice up the offseason. A free-agent signing deadline would hurt players more than it hurts teams, and that would create another set of problems.





Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top