As I write this, the two best free agents in Major League Baseball remain unsigned. Everyone thought that Manny Machado and Bryce Harper would have substantial long-term deals in place and be taking batting practice in either Florida or Arizona right now.
Instead they, along with genuine stars of the game like Houston Astros pitcher Dall Keuchel and former Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrell, in all 100 free agents, remain unsigned as spring training gets underway.
Right up until last year, star players could pretty much rest assured they would get a multi-year fat deal from a contending team with money to spend.
That era saw the beginning of the end when the Houston Astros won the World Series in 2017. The Astros were not built on superstars but used home-grown low-cost players to get to the promised land. Their only high dollar add during the year was Pitcher Justin Verlander from the Tigers.
Did baseball managers start thinking about some of the disastrous superstar deals like Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, and Albert Belle (just saying his name aloud can cause the eyes of a Baltimore Orioles fans to tear up)?
Those high dollar, multi-year deals kept the team from being competitive, much less play their way into the World Series. Saddled with big money contracts, they could not get the players they needed to win games and bring fans through the stadium gates every night.
That’s when the “quants” stepped in. And injected some cold, hard math into the equation…