The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB may be starting to see the very beginning of chips starting to fall in regards to free agency for the 2018 MLB season. RHP Yu Darvish yesterday signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs. The deal is a six-year contract worth a reported $126 million.
This is in reality the first big name free agent to fall this off season. And go figure, it was a pitcher. However mind you that there are still well over 200 free agents that are going to need to find a team for the upcoming season. And pitchers and catchers report this week.
However this tells us two things. First off, perhaps the idea of waiting this long to sign someone isn’t necessarily going to “get you a deal.” Previously teams used to think that if you waited until right before spring training or perhaps even once it’s begun, you’ll be able to get a player (potentially of Darvish’s quality) on a shorter contract worth less year-over-year. The deal that Darvish just signed is hardly “on the cheap.”
But the other thing it could tell us is that Chicago isn’t about to wait for Jake Arrieta. The Orioles of course traded Arrieta to Chicago in the middle of the 2013 season. Since getting there, his career has taken off. Might he be willing to return to his old team?
At the end of the day, it really matters as to whether his old team is willing to pony up the money to get him. But as I said, many teams used to think that if you waited this long to get someone the price would go down. That’s potentially been refuted by Darvish’s signing, however I suspect that if anyone’s still sitting out there after next Friday (Opening Day of spring training), the price will in fact go down.