When the ball dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Eve in the midst of baseball’s past offseason, a total of 54 free agents had signed, according to the research of MLB.com’s Sarah Langs. The pace of the action is dramatically different this winter. If you include the Miami Marlins‘ agreement with Corey Dickerson on Saturday, 77 players have already agreed to terms, or about 40% more than what we saw just a year ago.
Teams have waded into the free-agent market with their wallets open, from Toronto to San Diego, to the White Sox and the Yankees, and yes, to Miami. The agents are pleased, especially for their clients.
But among some of them, a conspiracy theory has hatched. Please remember that money, strikeouts and home runs are plentiful in baseball, but trust between the teams and the union is not.
What some agents believe is that part of the reason for the spending this winter is to soften the players’ concern over the relative lack of activity in the free-agent market the last few years, in advance of the labor talks. As the theory goes, the more money that the big-name players in the union have at stake in any labor war, the less likely it is they would embrace a possible…