Three weeks from the start of the 2018 big-league season, Tony Clark has a problem.

Too many unemployed stars are waiting for phone calls, or for contracts, or for offers that might lead to contracts the players and their agents believe are worthwhile.

But it’s not happening. Jake Arrieta. Mike Moustakas. Alex Cobb. Lance Lynn. The list is extensive as mid-March approaches and as an industry chill, which Clark and the Major League Players Association finds to be suspicious, continues to leave stars sidelined.

“It has been different — historically different,” said Clark, the former Tigers first baseman who now heads the MLPA, and who stopped at Lakeland on Tuesday morning for a nearly two-hour meeting with Tigers players.

“Guys are asking a lot of questions, which is fantastic.”

What’s missing are answers that Clark and his union members find reassuring. Namely, that the market is in fact functioning freely, minus any conspiracy by owners to back away from free agents who in previous years almost certainly would by now have been gobbled up, signed to lucrative deals.

“It begs the question,” Clark said, “as to whether or not there is interest by 30 teams to be the last team standing (World Series champion).”