2017 MLB Free Agency: The Quiet Before the Storm

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 06: J.D. Martinez
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 06: J.D. Martinez /
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Thus far, the 2017 MLB free agency has been strangely quiet. This is just the calm before the storm.

Usually, by this time on the calendar, the free agency rumor mill is in full swing. A few players will have signed by now, with one or two of the top free agent prizes having come off the board. This offseason, there have been a few minor league signings, and Doug Fister has been inked to a one year contract by the Texas Rangers. These are hardly the types of moves that push the needle during the 2017 MLB free agency period.

While it is certainly unusual this time of year, there are a number of factors for the current radio silence. Teams are waiting to find out where Shohei Otani will end up, delaying the starting pitching market. Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins have made Giancarlo Stanton available, leading to a quieter offseason for power bats.

In addition to these two reasons, there are other factors at work as well. Jeff Passan of Yahoo.com looked at other reasons as to why the free agent market has been quiet. He opines that teams are evaluating free agents in very similar ways, waiting out the market, and the turnover around the league this offseason. Combined, these factors have made for a quiet first couple of weeks of free agency.

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However, the biggest factor may be that teams are looking to get under the luxury tax this offseason, particularly with the upcoming free agent class. With players like Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw and Manny Machado coming available after the 2018 campaign, teams may be loath to spend as much in free agency this year.

Meanwhile, the top free agents in this year’s class have their flaws. Eric Hosmer is a good player, but he is not the game changing talent that can carry a team to the postseason on his own. J.D. Martinez went from a good player in Detroit to a superstar in his few months in Arizona. Yu Darvish struggled in the World Series, which may be enough to scare some teams off. These players will eventually get their millions, but they are not the type of players that can instantly change the fate of a franchise.

Eventually, the hot stove will heat up. Rumors will begin, and free agents will get signed. Once a few of the top names come off the board, then it is likely that a flurry of signings will follow. However, it may still be some time before those signings happen, as there are several dominoes that need to fall over first.

Next: Top 25 free agent pitchers

The 2017 MLB free agency rumor mill has been quiet thus far. However, it is the quiet before the storm.