Up until the past two weeks or so, the free-agent market was very slow-moving and teams were simply unwilling to spend. Big-market clubs like the Dodgers and Yankees are cutting payroll to get under the $197 million luxury tax threshold, and about one-third of the teams are rebuilding, so they aren't spending money either. As a result, 15 of our top 50 free agents remain unsigned, including five of the top 10. That's even after Yu Darvish signed with the Cubs (six years, $126 million) and Eric Hosmer signed with the Padres (eight years, $144 million). Teams aren't spending money and the MLB Players Association is upset. They issued a scathing statement earlier this month: "Pitchers and catchers will report to camps in Florida and Arizona next week. A record number of talented free agents remain unemployed in an industry where revenues and franchise values are at record highs. Spring training has always been associated with hope for a new season. This year a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom. This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of our game." Major League Baseball responded by saying owners "own teams for one reason: They want to win," which is a lie. Owners want to win! But it is disingenuous to pretend they're not in this to make money. Also, MLB chalked up the lack of spending to clubs going through "cyclical, multiyear strategies directed at winning," which is a fancy way of saying rebuilding.
Ronald Acuna situation offers a way MLBPA can get back at owners over spending
CBS Sports | Feb 19