It is the slowest off-season since the baseball strike off-season between 1994 and 1995. There has only been one signing (Wade Davis) in the Top-10 projected free agents as technically Masahiro Tanaka never opted-out and did not become a free agent.
For Washington Nationals fans, they should be excited about the progress in team signings. The Nationals have made several key signings including Brandon Kintzler, Howie Kendrick and newcomer Matt Adams. That Nats added Edwin Jackson, Tommy Milone, and Ryan Raburn back as Minor League depth. What is impressive is the Nationals return 5 players from the 2017 team that include Kintzler, Kendrick, Jackson, Raburn, and Matt Wieters who exercised his player-option to choose to return. On top of that, ex-Nats pitcher Tommy Milone returned to the team that developed him.
While it wasn’t a difficult decision for Wieters to return and cash-in that $10.5 million player-option, Kintzler and Kendrick and all of the others made personal decisions to return to the 2018 Washington Nationals. On top of that, there were several Nats farmhands who returned as free agents like Jason Martinson and Michael Almanzar.
There are 5 teams who have not signed one Major League free agent to this point, and one of those teams is the Baltimore Orioles. The Nats’ neighbors to the north are in “wait and see” mode. You cannot blame them. They have needs and are in no rush as they appear to have come to grips that they will be going into a serious rebuild next year. Many teams like the Pirates and Marlins have entered “tank” mode, and then you have teams like the Phillies who are just sitting on tons of cash as they have that wonderful TV deal they signed while they were still good.
Here is a list of significant Hot Stove moves this off-season not including the Nationals:
12/07 Marlins trade Dee Gordon to the Mariners for 3 prospects
12/08 Angels sign 2-way player Shohei Ohtani
12/10- Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees for Starlin Castro and 2 prospects
12/12- Cubs sign Brandon Morrow
12/13- Tigers trade Ian Kinsler to Angels for 2 prospects
12/14- Marlins trade Marcell Ozuna to Cardinals for prospects
12/16- Braves trade Matt Kemp to Dodgers for Scott Kazmir, Adrian Gonzalez (later released by Braves), Brandon McCarthy & Charlie Culberson
12/20- Rays trade Evan Longoria to Giants for Christian Arroyo and Denard Span
12/20 Phillies sign Carlos Santana to 3 year, $60 million deal.
12/29- Rockies sign Wade Davis to 3 year, $52 million deal
12/29 Yankees re-sign CC Sabathia
01/04 Dodgers acquire Scott Alexander in 3 team trade
01/06 Blue Jays acquire Yangervis Solarte from the Padres
01/13 Gerrit Cole traded to the Houston Astros in a blockbuster including Joe Musgrove and Colin Moran
01/15 Twins sign free agent Addison Reed
01/15 Pirates trade Andrew McCutchen to the Giants for a package of prospects
01/16 Mets sign free agent Jay Bruce
The Hot Stove is broken but at some point you have to expect it to perk up. Right?