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It’s no secret that the slow-moving nature of free agency in the past has been off-putting for MLB fans. One of the league's biggest failures has been the inability to retain the public’s attention during the offseason the way the NBA and NFL does.

In an age dominated by the 24-hour news cycle and social media, other leagues are able to properly leverage these opportunities through highly anticipated free agency periods. Fans stay glued to league news, eagerly awaiting their teams’ moves. MLB fans however, sit through the whole offseason wondering if and when their favorite teams will make moves. This system has quelled fans’ excitement and ensures baseball as an afterthought for most throughout the offseason.

Facing the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and its ensuing lockout, teams and players alike acted with urgency to reach agreements. Thus, fans finally experienced the kind of news week the MLB has only seen through the trade deadline and occasionally the Winter Meetings. Now, as the CBA negotiations represent an opportunity for both sides to bring about change, it seems certain that each has a vested interest in making this the new norm of free agency.

With this seemingly being one of the few issues the league and the players union agree on, it seems very likely a creative change could be made. Facing a clock has shown to create more moves at the trade deadline and to a lesser extent during the winter meetings. Now the lockout showed how a clock on free agency would present the same excitement.

While a hard deadline on free agency may provide teams an unfair advantage to pressure players to accept their terms or face unemployment, this year painted a far easier and more fair solution. By implementing a yearly pause on free agency both sides could be enticed to act earlier.

The conclusion of the winter meetings would be the perfect time to pause free agency until after the holidays. This soft deadline would provide enough incentive for both sides to act early. This is very clearly evidenced by the over $1 billion already spent in free agency prior to the lockout.

The opportunity for deals to still be reached after a pause would ease any concerns of the league taking advantage of players not under contract. With what could be played off as a simple holiday break, the MLB could succeed in generating more buzz around their free agency each year and the union could achieve one of their goals in getting teams to act aggressively again.

There’s no doubt the lockout in itself represents a massive black eye on the MLB, but the free agent frenzy it caused would seem to be a positive outcome. Implementing a yearly pause on free agency could be a massive step forward to capturing fans’ attention year round and bettering the offseason as a whole. The only thing left now is to see if the MLB, commissioner Rob Manfred and its players’ union can see the golden solution that fell right into their laps.

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