Major League Baseball is a business. That fact is never made more apparent than during each offseason when free agent players meet with teams to discuss money, contracts and benefits. Millions of dollars are thrown at the league’s best athletes in an attempt to woo them to a new city — or to convince them to stay where they are.
But when notable names like Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera and Jayson Werth remain unsigned into the end of March, it’s cause for alarm.
Free agent signings over the 2017-2018 offseason were startlingly slow. Even J.D. Martinez, the cream of this winter’s crop, didn’t have a finalized contract with the Boston Red Sox until February 26 — a full 12 days after pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training.
“It was the first time we’ve seen this and I think a lot of players started panicking,” MLB Network analyst and 2004 World Series champion Kevin Millar told AOL.com on behalf of Budweiser. “It was very strange.”