This winter has certainly been one of the slowest in recent memory, the hot-stove is barely burning lukewarm and we are already days away from 2018.
It has been so slow that nine of this off-season's best free agents are still in the market and there are no signs that they will agree to a deal soon.
Names like Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, J.D. Martinez, and Eric Hosmer lead the list of best players available.
The only top free agents that have signed with a new team so far are Zack Cozart and Carlos Santana, signing with the Angels and Phillies respectively.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, it is the past that is affecting the future as recent off-season "big money" contracts have "blown up in their face" the last few years.
Sherman explains that there are 14 players in Major League Baseball that have free agent contracts, not extensions, for more than $100 million dollars total and make at least $20 million per year.
Of those 14 players, only two have lived up to the value of their contracts, the first Max Scherzer ($210 million over 7 years), and the second Jon Lester ($155 million over six years). Lester had his first down season in 2017, but his other two were great.
Now let's mention the other 12 players on that list:
- Yoenis Cespedes ($110 million over four years)
Cespedes only played in 81 games in 2017, least amount in his career, and the Mets finished second to last in the NL East.
- Zack Greinke ($206.5 million over six years)
Greinke, two years into his contract has already had the worst season in his career in 2016 and a bounce back year, finishing fourth for the Cy Young in 2017.
- Masahiro Tanaka ($155 million over seven years)
After four seasons with the Yankees, Tanaka has not been able to win more than 15 games in a season and his ERA skyrocketed in 2017 to 4.74. Probably the reason why he didn't opt out of contract at the end of the season.
- Johnny Cueto ($130 million over six years)
The Dominican pitcher is now two years into his deal and it has been an up and downtime for Cueto in San Francisco. In 2016, he was great, an All-Star, but in 2017 he was not the same at all and only managed an 8-8 record and a ERA of 4.52.
- David Price ($217 million over seven years)
Price can opt out of his contract after next season, but unless he gets back to his 2016 form and shows better postseason pitching he is not going anywhere, especially with so many injuries.
- Albert Pujols ($240 million over 10 years)
Since joining the Angels in 2012, Pujols has been struggling to put up theme numbers he did with the Cardinals. He is averaging .262 with the Angels, when with St. Louis he was averaging .328. Now he will probably crawl his way to the finish line.
- Robinson Cano ($240 million over 10 years)
- Prince Fielder ($214 million over nine years)
The Tigers only pay part of his contract as insurance takes care of the rest, but they will be paying him until 2020.
- Jason Heyward ($184 million over eight years)
What can you say except he is getting paid $21 million to be a platoon outfielder and bench glove in the outfield during the playoffs. His biggest moment has been a pep talk during the rain delay of Game 7 of the World Series.
- Chris Davis ($161 million over seven years)
When your making more than $20 million a year and have a minus WAR it was a horrible deal.
- Jordan Zimmerman ($110 million over five years)
6.08 ERA, what more do we need to say?
- Jacoby Ellsbury ($153 million over seven years)
A fifth outfielder that really has no business with the Yankees anymore, but they can't even give him away due to his No-Trade clause.
As you can see there are more bad experiences than good and that seems to have the hot-stove on freeze.
And with Scott Boras, who is known for waiting out for the best deal, as the agent for five of the biggest names on the free agent market (Jake Arrieta, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez and Mike Moustakas), it's no wonder the market is practically at a stand steal.
Teams don't want to overpay and be stuck with a player that is not helping you win games.