Dodgers: What Impact Does the Slow Free Agent Market Have?

Andrew Friedman, (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Andrew Friedman, (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

2017’s free agency has been relatively slow to develop, with only stud relievers being the most prominent names to be signed. This may actually be a good thing for the Dodgers.

J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Jay Bruce, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain. These are the most significant names on the market both now and heading into free agency. Yet they have yet to be signed. However, it might not matter too much to the Dodgers because they are not expected to spend big this offseason.

Eric Hosmer was recently offered large deals by the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres, while the Boston Red Sox offered J.D. Martinez a five-year deal. Some of the mid-tier free agents are off the market, but the vast dominoes have not fallen yet, making this winter seem more like a snoozefest than anything else.

Because the Dodgers are seemingly prepping for next year’s historic free agent class, it is a fair assumption that they are out of the bidding for the big free agents, so this slow brew does not have much effect on them. But this slow-brewing stove may work to the Dodgers’ benefit, directly or indirectly, if it does have an impact on LA.

With the market having yet to develop truly, the player’s themselves do not know how much they are valued. Yes, they have their own valuations, but you are ultimately worth what a team is willing to pay. No team in their right mind would logically pay J.D. Martinez his seven-year demands, or they shouldn’t.

This lack of movement may actually hurt the free agent stars. Their asking prices are probably too high for teams’ likings. Remember, Yu Darvish, and Jake Arrieta will be 31 and 32 years old, respectively, by Opening Day. Everyone knows not to invest huge bucks into long contracts for pitchers on the wrong side of 30.

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But these guys are most likely asking for these mega deals, and when you have Scott Boras as your agent, as most of these guys have, you are going to deal with stubbornness. Boras usually gets his way, but so far it seems that no one is willing to succumb to him and his clients’ demands.

If teams continue to hold steady, the players may start to lose some leverage, making it easier for organizations to negotiate more reasonable or discounted contracts. If their prices begin to fall due to desperation, the Dodgers may have a chance to enter the race for a Yu Darvish or (possibly) Jake Arrieta. If they can get them for a reasonable price, they should consider these guys if they can backload the deal.

But if none of this happens, then someone will drop the first ball, and everything will fall into place, leading to a bunch of bloated contracts which will become albatrosses down the line for the teams who do sign them. If that is the case, then that helps LA too, as their competition will have higher payrolls and eventually have terrible contracts on their books.

Look at the Giants, they are going to, if they aren’t already, regret the Evan Longoria trade and the other big contracts on their team. That will help the Dodgers in future free agent classes and trade negotiations.

Next: Does LA Need More Pitching?

So while the Dodgers aren’t expected to be tremendous players in free agency, the lack of development could benefit the boys in blue, whether it be directly improving them or hurting others.