Unemployment is rough for auto workers, mid-level managers, and retailers. Also superstar baseball players in their free-agent year. Not only has the bottom fallen out of the housing market. It’s also fallen out of the baseball free agent market. Consider:
If Major League Baseball called you today and offered the rights to a new expansion team, with the freedom to build your roster from the list of free agents still available at this astonishingly late date, you could construct a lineup with potential future Hall of Famers at catcher (Iván Rodríguez), both corner outfield positions (Manny Ramírez and Ken Griffey Jr.) and designated hitter (Frank Thomas).
As your cleanup hitter, you could have the only player in baseball with 40 or more homers in each of the past five seasons (Adam Dunn). Your second baseman could be a player less than two years removed from an all-star/Gold Glove season (Orlando Hudson). And your starting rotation could include two more Hall of Famers (Pedro Martínez and Tom Glavine), plus the National League’s starter in last year’s All-Star Game (Ben Sheets).
Less than two weeks away from the opening of spring training camps, baseball’s talent marketplace is facing a staggering reality: More than 90 free agents remain unsigned, and many of them simply won’t have jobs when pitchers and catchers report, if they find jobs at all.