The financial landscape of Major League Baseball is currently as fraught as any time in recent memory. Revenue has plummeted amid the COVID-19 crisis, as have player salaries due to a 60-game season. And the unique circumstances could extend past the 2020 season.
MLB agent and UC Berkley professor Greg Genske discussed the unique free agency period ahead after the 2020 season on Thursday. Genske said he expects superstars to still earn massive contracts, but the game's "middle class" could be squeezed in the offseason.
"My expectation is we get to free agency next year, you're going to see superstars players getting paid like superstars," Genske told Sports Illustrated's Bill Enright. "Unfortunately over the last several years we've seen a little bit more of a pinch on your middle class, your very-good-but-not-superstar free agents."
Genske noted he believes baseball's economics will likely stabilize in the coming years despite the current uncertainty.
"We're in an unprecedented time here. We don't know what's going to happen," Genske said. "I believe things will come back, owners will be compelled to invest, and that means investing in star players."
The free-agent class of 2021 is littered with notable players. Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts headlines the class, and the 2018 American League MVP could earn nearly $400 million on the open market. Betts will likely be joined in free agency by fellow All-Stars George Springer, Trevor Bauer and D.J. LeMahieu.