Monday Newsletter time: Are free agents playing it safe before CBA deadline? Texas Rangers aren't sensing that.
The perception after leaving the general managers meetings was that offseason business is being conducted at a normal pace.
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A whole week has passed since free agents were freed to sign with any MLB team, and none of the big names have come off the board.
What are they waiting for?
For one, the deadline to reject qualifying offers isn’t until Wednesday. Most of the big names out there received one.
For those who reject theirs, they will have draft-pick compensation attached to them, and some teams might balk at signing those free agents because of the uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining agreement.
The deadline to have a new CBA arrives at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 1. Not only is draft-pick compensation in the new CBA an unknown, so is the luxury-tax threshold.
Also, the deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters is Friday, and some clubs need every open spot they can get. Don’t be surprised to see some trades develop as the deadline nears.
The Texas Rangers might fall into that category, with a large group of prospects they want to protect from the Rule 5 draft. The Rangers start the week with four open 40-man spots.
But this isn’t the NBA. MLB free agency is a marathon, with some stragglers not crossing the finish line until after spring training starts. And since it’s only been a week, it’s no surprise that no one has jumped at a deal.
The Rangers, though, left the general managers meetings last week unconvinced that the market will be stalled by the CBA negotiations. The Rangers have talked with agents about the available players and will make a deal if it’s there before deadline.
“I didn’t get the sense that the pace wasn’t normal,” president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said.
A report following the GM meetings said that some teams have told agents there could be risk in waiting until after a potential work stoppage, and some agents have told teams the same thing.
If the new CBA isn’t reached until Feb. 1, free agency would turn into an NBA-like free-for-all with only two weeks until spring training. The best deal for a player might be now, and a team might want to strike now to ensure it doesn’t get lost in the possible two-week scenario.
The Rangers have a track record of signing players before the winter meetings, which are tentatively scheduled this year for Dec. 6-8 in Orlando, Fla. If the owners lock out the players, the winter meetings won’t be conducted on the MLB side.
So, these next two weeks could be busy on the free-agent front — or busier than some might have forecast in light of the labor uncertainty.
Updates from Arizona
The Rangers aren’t overly concerned with the right knee tweak that shut down Sam Huff in the Arizona Fall League before the developmental league closes its season Saturday.
Huff felt discomfort while extending his leg in an effort to catch a pitch. It was unfamiliar to him since he underwent knee surgery in April and returned to catching last month.
But that seems to be all the Rangers think it is. There was no structural damage, so Huff is still on course to be ready for spring training. He’ll big in big-league camp by virtue of his spot on the 40-man roster.
Right-hander Owen White is still pumping in the Arizona Fall League, and he showed why he’s been the league’s best pitcher Saturday in the Fall Stars Game. White tossed a 1-2-3 inning, which included a strike out. He has one more start to go.
The Newsletter cranks out most of its paid content during the weekend, which the geniuses at my old place used to say was the wrong way to get eyeballs on stories. Maybe they are right, but the Newsletter picks up many of its new subscribers on Saturday and Sunday. But for those who aren’t weekend readers, here’s our latest content in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Tap the brakes on that spending spree
Friday on the Farm: Ranking the outfield prospects
Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast: Second-round pick Aaron Zavala
For those of us who have grown up further north, this type of thing can be very entertaining. I’m not sure dogs feel that way, though. Enjoy. See you Tuesday.