Never shy about speaking his mind, Phillies reliever Pat Neshek sounded off Wednesday on the declining player salaries and glacial pace of MLB free agency, a new norm that no baseball player and few fans can get behind.
It's Feb. 13, the first official day of workouts for pitchers and catchers. And yet Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel — four of the top five free agents on the market — remain unsigned.
So do Marwin Gonzalez, Gio Gonzalez, Carlos Gonzalez, Mike Moustakas, Adam Jones and Bud Norris, all useful players in their own right.
"It's sad to see. It stinks," Neshek told NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark. "They want to go cheaper, the front offices. I think we signed a bad CBA, personally."
That CBA went through ahead of the 2017 season and runs through the end of the 2021 season.
The previous year, in the free-agent period leading into 2016, there were 13 players who signed contracts of at least $70 million. Revisiting those deals, 12 of them now look bad. You can see why front offices have become more risk-averse.
Spending is cyclical, but it just doesn't seem like the Jason Heywards of the world will ever again be finding contracts worth $184 million. Pitchers the caliber of Ian Kennedy will have trouble getting $70 million over five years.