With pitchers and reporters set to report to Spring Training next week, there remains a record number of free agents still on the open market. Most jarring are the names of players who have yet to find a home.
The list includes 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, four-time All-Star Yu Darvish and slugger Eric Hosmer, among others.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark released a statement on Tuesday about the offseason’s lack of free agent signings, and directly accused teams of not putting their best efforts into fielding a winning product.
It was met by a response from the league, which put the blame on the players. Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tweeted his response and echoed Clark’s sentiments:
If the true goal of @MLB is to capture the interest of fans, having the best product on the field every night should be the priority. If the best players aren’t out there, it doesn’t matter how long a game is. Our fans deserve to see the best of the best playing for Championships
— Justin Turner (@redturn2) February 6, 2018
Alex Wood also chimed in with his opinion on Twitter and agreed that roughly half the league is entering the 2018 season with an intention of losing as many games as possible:
It appears that there are 12-15 Teams that have committed to tanking and or not putting the best team they can on the field. That strikes at the heart of the Integrity of the game and is truly unfair to the FANS who LOVE and SUPPORT these organizations! https://t.co/mjD3bolnjv
— Alex Wood (@Awood45) February 6, 2018
Earlier this offseason, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen suggested that players may have to go on strike in response to the slow-moving free agent market.
There have been more signings as of late, so hopefully Jansen’s proposal never comes to fruition, as that would obviously be the worst-case scenario for a sport that’s gained in popularity and is coming off a thrilling World Series.