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Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

MLB free agents hold out for better deals amidst contract impasse

Two+young+fans+watch+the+Chicago+Cubs+take+on+the+Cincinnati+Reds+
Spencer Johnson
Two young fans watch the Chicago Cubs take on the Cincinnati Reds

With Major League Baseball’s (MLB) World Tour kicking off in Seoul, South Korea, the 2024 season is officially underway. Nonetheless, many talented and sought after free agents (FA) remain unsigned, causing them to settle for less money and increasing their likelihood of developing injuries.

The 2024 MLB free agent class was set to be historic with two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani hitting the market. Commanding a $700 million contract from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ohtani was the first of many dominos expected to fall.

Other large market names in this class include Blake Snell (Giants), Cody Bellinger (Cubs), Jordan Montgomery (FA), J.D. Martinez (FA) and Matt Chapman (Giants).

In his age 29 season, Comeback Player of the Year and former MVP Bellinger was expected to receive upwards of $200 million. Lack of interest however, caused Bellinger to settle for a mere $80 million. Likewise, Cy Young Award winner Snell was reported to be seeking $270 million, only to sign late into spring training for $62 million.

Avid baseball fan Rese Bailey commented on why he believes some players remain free agents or signed for less than their initial asking price.

“It’s becoming increasingly common in baseball for players to sign deals that carry them to retirement. While they may deserve the money in the short term, teams are beginning to question if it’s worth having to pay them when their skills begin to regress,” he said.

MLB contracts have often been seen as excessive, with player salaries commonly reaching nine figures over the course of a decade. Teams have never been shy about handing out these contracts, so it remains a mystery as to why so many free agents remain this offseason.

Scott Boras, agent to the players listed above, is seen by many as the roadblock preventing deals from being signed. Boras is reputable around the league for structuring deals to his clients best interest, urging them not to sign until they receive what they are looking for.

Bailey sees a pattern developing in the remaining free agents. “When you have All-Stars, World Series champions and a Cy Young Award winner who are all represented by the same man you can’t help but wonder where the problem really lies,” he shared.

Spring training is often seen as a time for promising prospects to receive playing time against more experienced competition. Expanded rosters allow for this, but also are an opportunity for teams to acclimate players for the up and coming season.

Starters typically only see a few innings to start the spring, slowly warming up their bodies for the rigorous season ahead. With the start of the season just around the corner, any new signees will miss a key component in their yearly training.

Players like Montgomery could undoubtedly provide a World Series level impact to any ball club. However, as time progresses, teams become increasingly hesitant to sign such players knowing the development they missed in spring training.

Senior athlete Shivam Patel relates to the preseason work required for athletes to reach their full potential. “A lot of people overlook the work that goes into a season. The real work is done off the field by getting your body and mind ready to compete. There are no shortcuts,” he said.

Knowing the caliber players that remain, fans sit anxiously waiting for any remaining moves their team may have in store.

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About the Contributor
Spencer Johnson, Sports Editor, Student Life Editor
Spencer Johnson is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and serves as the Sports and Student Life Editor for the Spartan Shield. He enjoys math and economics classes, and plans on majoring in Business Economics next fall at Iowa State University. Spencer plays trumpet for both PVHS and his Church, St. John Vianney. In his free time, he loves watching sports, movies and hanging out with his friends. Spencer is also an Eagle Scout who enjoys camping and being outdoors. He is very excited to finish out his senior year and write with the journalism team!

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