Huge MLB offseason proves to be a huge dud


During an offseason that was potentially full of excitement and intrigue, where two of the games 10 best players (Bryce Harper and Manny Machado) became free agents at an uncommonly young age, baseball has managed to fulfill its own worst stereotype of being boring. And we’re not even talking about the game itself.  

As soon as the NFL season ended draft experts started popping up all over radio and television to get people hyped up for the NFL draft which is two months away.

The NBA has managed to drum up intrigue and controversy during the middle of their long and dull regular season by talking about the massively talented free agent class coming out this summer. This will undoubtedly become an entertaining frenzy of rumors and then quickly, signings of free agents.

Yet baseball is managing to ruin a golden opportunity to create buzz and excitement during this offseason where they have the two youngest and most talented players to hit free agency in almost 20 years.

Part of the problem is owners are actively trying to reverse a trend of signing players to 8 or ten year contracts which rarely pan out in the long run. It’s an understandable market correction after 15 years of bad contracts stifling teams’ abilities to get better and sign other players.

Most of this however, is the fault of the ever growing analytics army, which is so singularly focused on creating efficiency both on the field with shifts, pitching changes and rotating lineups, and off the field by trying to get the most bang for their buck on players who are signed.

There is a growing trend in which these newer General Managers would rather have two players, who are cheaper, do the job that one super-star player could do. While this strategy makes fiscal sense in a vacuum, it fails to see the big picture. The big picture is that baseball is starving for kids to fall in love with the sport and for kids to fall in love with the sport they must first fall in love with the players.

No 10-year-old kid wants a poster of Joe Schmo and John Doe on their wall instead of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. No 10-year-old kid wants a poster on their wall of a teams general manager with a pencil behind his ear, pouring over statistics. And no 10-year-old kid is telling their friends how brilliant their teams’ front office is because they didn’t waste money on a huge contract to a star and instead signed three guys who could “eat up innings” and have “great value”.

As a result of baseballs arrogance regarding the importance of the fans connection to the players, almost no 10-year-old kid is even watching baseball, and those who were interested in where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado may go three months ago, no longer care.