Funny free-agent market. At its top, it's very good.
Just ask stars
But at the bottom, it's pretty darned rewarding, too. Go no further than
It's in the vast middle where players are being squeezed this winter. More than 100 free agents remain unemployed, and many of them are expected to settle for a contract, not celebrate one.
The majority of players aren't cashing in as in years past, a trend that cheers MLB's powers while concerning the union. This has been one weird market, with big stars and certain role players being rewarded while most everyone else struggles for a buck. That includes some established and perennially productive guys who appear to be experiencing a rude awakening.
Holliday, the best all-around player on the market, hit the exact figures
The stunner of the market, though, has to be the two-year deals for Carroll, Kendall and Schneider and the $2 million deal for Cora, whose greatest attribute appears to be that he's a helluva guy.
But while those deals represent contractual success stories, there remains a lot of worry within the middle ranks. Several very solid and better players remain on the market, and maybe they still have a chance to garner sweetheart deals (
Here are some thoughts on some of the best of the remaining yet-to-be-signed players...
• Bay's contract negotiations with Boston could be made into a movie. What appears to have happened was this: The Red Sox offered $60 million for four years in the summer only to pull the offer and reduce it to about $44 million over three years after either a cold streak or an iffy medical report, or both. The Red Sox continued to show interest in the winter but never got back to four years. It's very possible that Bay actually accepted the $60 million deal at one point, as there would have been no other reason to submit to medical testing. In any case, Mets doctors found no major issues with Bay and expressed faith that he is in great shape to fulfill his contract, whether it be four years or five.
• The Mets have a battery of scouts going in to see Delgado in the coming days. There is concern about whether he can run, but he looks like a likely one for the Mets to sign.
• As long as
• Two scouts say that the A's got a potentially great one in outfield prospect
• Very interesting that at least three small-market teams -- the Marlins, A's and Blue Jays -- appear to be eyeing Cuban defector
• The Consideration award goes to Holliday and also to