It’s like a weird sports movie. Major League Baseball’s top free agents, unsigned as spring training starts, are apparently assembled at their own secret training camp in Bradenton, Florida.
There is a lot about it that is weird. Reports from several media outlets including The Athletic say that media is not allowed at the facility and several reporters have been turned away. Reports also say that the athletes at the IMG Academy have not left the facility and are staying on site so they cannot be identitifed. Which is also weird.
So to recap: some of the best baseball players in the world, in the face of an odd and potentially illegally developing free agent market, have banded together to prepare in secret for the upcoming season.
The secrecy, according to HardTalk’s Craig Calcaterra, is because as he says: “I suspect the union does not want its free agents being the subject of sad stories in which they’re cast as hopeless or pathetic or facing the end of their careers.”
Another theory is that public opinion seems to be turning against the players — with many baseball fans, 73 percent according to an MLBTradeRumors.com poll, think that the players are overpaid.
One thing that is clear, at least we think, is that all of Scott Boras’ clients are not in attendence. This means that J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Jake Arrieta, Mike Moustakas, and Greg Holland aren’t participating.
Pitchers and catchers have reported for all 32 MLB teams, with position players slated to head to their respective camps next week, and yet players like Arrieta remain unsigned.
Yu Darvish looks to have taken Arrieta’s spot as ace of the Cubs a few days ago, and it appears the Cubs gave Arrieta the chance to sign with them first for a similar deal. If true, that piece of news is good for any potential Arrieta suitor, implying that the team most familiar with