With Major League Baseball facing an imminent lockout, free agents are signing at a furious pace in what will likely be a record-breaking offseason.
The collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players association expires at midnight Wednesday, and it is widely presumed that the league will lock out its players at the time. This step would freeze transactions, meaning that no player from this loaded free-agent class could sign a deal until a new CBA is reached.
Players have rushed to sign deals ahead of that deadline, agreeing to over $1.6 billion in guaranteed contracts.
- The Texas Rangers agreed to $561.2 million in new deals, namely to infielders Corey Seager ($325 million) and Marcus Semien ($175 million).
- The New York Mets have committed $254 million in new deals, including a three-year deal with ace pitcher Max Scherzer which shattered the record for average annual value at $43.3 million per season.
- The Tampa Bay Rays broke the record for a contract given to a player with less than a year of service time with their 11-year, $182 million deal for shortstop Wander Franco.
The MLBPA is seeking to restructure rules to allow players to get bigger paydays earlier in their careers. Players have no ability to negotiate salaries in their first three years and operate under the arbitration system for the next three.
MLB is also interested in rule changes, including expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams.