It may not affect the Astros, but this spring could get off to an odd start.
It is highly unlikely that the Astros make another free agent signing before the season starts. If there was to be one, it could be left-handed reliever Tony Watson or outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. The need for Watson could increase if the Astros were to trade Collin McHugh.
In my opinion, McHugh would be valuable in his role for the Astros this year. This has been a weird offseason for baseball as a whole. Every team used to go to spring training thinking they had a chance to contend. However, the Astros have started a new trend with their rise to becoming World Series champs.
A change of thinking.
Instead of adding veterans every season, teams have learned that it’s better to build from within. There is a big difference between the haves and have-nots in the big leagues. With teams like the Yankees and Dodgers, they don’t have the payroll flexibility to add too many free agents. Then you have teams like the Astros who have little needs to address.
Then you have all the have-nots, who are not looking to add salary by adding free agents as they go through a rebuild. There is not as much demand as there used to be for free agents, especially the middle tier ones. There are still enough free agents on the market to create a new competitive team.
Too many players left on the market.
There are many reasons why there are so many free agents left. They are not getting the contract offers they think they deserve. We hear about players turning down a five year deal with the hopes of getting a longer one. This current market does not support the idea of contracts longer than three years, but players are holding out hope.
A union ran Spring camp.
With spring training set to start, the MLB Players Association will be running an independent camp for free agents. According to Ken Rosenthal, Bo Porter will be running that camp with the hopes that the players still get signed. The worst thing that can happen is a player fall behind while they try to get a better deal. The only rule is that you can’t have your own personal trainers at camp.
This camp is open to any player who remains unsigned, but Scott Boras’ clients will not attend. Instead, Boras will host his clients at a separate facility where they can work with their personal trainers. They are welcome to join Porter’s camp when their schedule allows.
This union ran camp would start next Wednesday, but is only scheduled to run through March 4th. If the numbers are still high, they could look at extending the camp, but would not be able to play exhibition games.
How does this relate to the Astros? It doesn’t, except if they discover a need at the beginning of camp. For example, Max Stassi is not hitting, they could go after Jonathan Lucroy. Maybe if none of the lefty relievers pan out, they could go get Watson. This is just an interesting situation to monitor, because some opponents could end up getting a steal of a deal with patience.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***