It wasn’t the bloodbath players and agents feared, but the free-agent marketplace became overstuffed Wednesday, with power-hitting left fielders feeling the brunt of baseball’s economic crunch.
There were a record 59 arbitration-eligible players non-tendered — three more than a year ago. There were 59 who signed one-year contracts. And two trades.
No position became more gutted than those power-hitting outfielders whose best position is their bat.
The Chicago Cubs non-tendered Kyle Schwarber, part of their core four of their 2016 World Series run. He hit 38 homers two years ago, and has a career rate of 14.9 at-bats per home — second only to Sammy Sosa (12.8) in Cubs history. But they worried about paying someone about $9 million after hitting .188 last year, particularly with no idea whether there will be a universal DH in 2021.
“Listen, he’s always going to be a Cubs legend," Cubs president Jed Hoyer told Chicago reporters. “That’s one of the things, when you and draft and develop these guys, you build meaningful relationships with those guys, and it makes those conversations that much harder.’’
The Minnesota Twins had about five teams express interest in Eddie Rosario, but no one was willing to pay about $10 million for the left fielder, even after hitting 119 homers with 388 RBI since his 2015 debut. They placed him on outright waivers, he cleared in the afternoon and they did not offer him a contract, instead deciding to use the money for pitching, while giving prized rookie Alex Kirilloff the opportunity to take the position.