The 2018 Major League Baseball season was a successful one by many measures with many new, young star blossoming before fans’ eyes and two of the biggest market teams in the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers meeting in the World Series.
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about America’s Pastime losing its popularity, but that doesn’t actually seem to be the case.
According to Maury Brown of Forbes, MLB once again had a record-breaking season in terms of revenue generated in the 2018 season:
For the 16th consecutive year, MLB saw record gross revenues. For 2018, baseball-related revenues were $10.3 billion, according to industry sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
With teams and the league making money, that makes the activity that has gone on this winter a bit suspicious.
For the second consecutive year, the free-agent market has been extremely slow-moving as with around a month until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, many of the top players are still available.
That includes two of the game’s brightest stars in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Both were projected to earn contracts north of 10 years and $300 million at the beginning of the offseason but seem to be having trouble getting those types of offers.
While teams are rightfully skeptical to hand out 10-year contracts due to the failure of those in the past, Harper and Machado are both just 26 years of age.
One team who has been reluctant to spend this offseason is the Dodgers despite staying below the luxury tax threshold in 2018. They shed some salary by trading Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds, but to this point the only Major League free agent they have signed is reliever Joe Kelly.
With teams and the league making as much money as they do, it is not out of the realm of possibility for the players to go on strike in the near future if those teams continue to not spend on players.