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Free agent market slow, but players who have signed have exceeded expectations

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The winter meetings are near the end — many execs are leaving Vegas tonight — and once again, the free agent market has moved rather slowly. Last year’s free agent market was perhaps the slowest in recent memory. This offseason, only 11 multi-year contracts have been signed by free agents to date. Six have been for two years, three have been for three years, one for four years, and one for six years.

Despite another slowly-moving free agent market, the players are optimistic because those that have signed contracts have exceeded expectations in terms of total value, per Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal. Patrick Corbin got $140 million, Nathan Eovaldi got $68 million, Andrew McCutchen got $50 million. Heck, even Lance Lynn coming off of a bad year got $30 million from the Rangers.

For comparison, as the offseason began, Fancred’s insider Jon Heyman (and an unnamed “expert”) made predictions about what the various free agent markets would get. Heyman and the expert predicted $100 million and $85 million, respectively, for Corbin, who got $140 million. They predicted $45 million and $64 million, respectively, for Eovaldi, who got $68 million. And they foresaw $39 million and $60 million for McCutchen, who got $50 million. Heyman predicted Charlie Morton would take the $17.9 million qualifying offer and the expert predicted he’d sign a one-year, $17 million deal. Morton got two years and $30 million. Heyman predicted 2/$16M for Lance Lynn and the expert only went a million higher at 2/$17M. He got 3/$30M.

Heyman isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so let’s also glance at the predictions from MLB Trade Rumors. 6/$129M for Corbin, 4/$60M for Eovaldi, 3/$45M for McCutchen, 2/$32M for Morton, and 2/$16M for Lynn. MLBTR hit a lot closer to the center of the dartboard, so to speak, but generally the players still got a bit more than anticipated, which is good, and justifies the optimism. Hopefully the trend continues over the coming two or three months.

Going forward, though, we probably should adjust our expectations of the winter meetings. Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times brought up a great point, tweeting, “One problem with the Winter Meetings is they are still marketed as a news-making event at a time when executives no longer feel urgency to make news at said event.” All of the execs and journalists have access to one another via cell phones, so it’s become more of a hobnobbing event than a place to wheel and deal. These days, a deal could just as easily happen in the days leading up to or following the winter meetings. Maybe it’s just the new normal that we’ll be going into February with handfuls of free agents still looking for a new home.

A’s minor league manager on ventilator due to coronavirus

Oakland Athletics
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OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics minor league manager Webster Garrison is hospitalized in Louisiana and on a ventilator with the coronavirus, according to his fiance.

Nikki Trudeaux posted her latest update Monday night on social media. She said the 54-year-old former major leaguer still required a ventilator to fight COVID-19 but hadn’t declined in his battle.

“He is not getting worse! He is fighting hard and making small milestones,”

. Trudeaux has been asking for nightly prayers with the hash tag “WebbyStrong.”

The A’s said Tuesday there were no updates on a minor league staffer – they have not identified him – and said there have not been other positive tests within the organization.

Oakland released a a statement during the weekend that “a minor league staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 and is under hospital care.”

“We want to extend our sincerest thoughts and prayers to our colleague for a speedy recovery,” the team said. “We are committed to providing him and his family with support and care. Every person on our team plays a critical role to our success and we look forward to his return to the field when he is healthy.”

Garrison managed the Class A Stockton Ports last season and was expected to manage in the Arizona Fall League this year. He played five games for the A’s in 1996, never getting a hit in 10 plate appearances while drawing one walk. He is from Marrero, Louisiana.

Trudeaux described in her posts the heartbreak of being helpless through this.

“This man, my fiancé, Webster Garrison, the love of my life, is on a ventilator in the hospital, fighting for his life, and I can’t even be at his side!” Trudeaux said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can experience severe illness, including pneumonia and death.