Friday, January 19, 2018

Sporting News: Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish: Who provides best value?

It seems in each baseball offseason a face-off ensues among “elite” free agents searching for nine-figure salaries. Often, teams fervently jump into the bidding for such players, but not this offseason.

Some have suggested that teams are intentionally stifling the market to drag down players’ prices, and to an extent they are correct. However, the slowdown has taken also shape because, unlike in years past, clubs have resisted veering from their player valuations based on performance projections of the player going forward. Meanwhile, players’ agents are sticking to the mindset that their clients are due contracts based on past performance. The impasse has crippled much of the free-agent market.

The agents’ model is better suited for free agents with prime seasons ahead of them, but when a player enters the market on the downside of the age-curve — regardless of his pedigree — clubs are beginning to refuse to pay backward. This couldn’t be more true in the case of the premier starting pitchers in this free-agent market — Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish, who both remain unsigned with less than a month until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

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