We are about to see “March Madness” in baseball. Something never seen before in sport. In college basketball, this is the name of the tournament that defines the champion of the season. Now that a collective bargaining agreement has been reached in baseball, players who are under contract have this weekend to report to their camps.
This year, spring training will not be business as usual. They will take place amid frantic free agency.
Typically, the critical pieces of equipment are defined by this time of year. That is not the case in the spring of 2022, as we continue to wait for signatures from Freddie Freeman, Puerto Rican Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Kris Bryant and many more.
The movements have already started. Veteran Clayton Kershaw, who will soon be 34, is reported to have has renewed for a year with the Dodgers, a team for which he has played throughout his career. And the Dodgers would have done him too an offer to Freeman. Will Freeman leave the Braves to start a chapter in his career? Soon we will know the answer.
We already know how things are in professional sports when free agency kicks off. We saw it late last year, when Max Scherzer signed with the Mets and Corey Seager with the Rangers. This time, several agreements will be made with a season about to start.
After a difficult month of February for baseball fans, who were waiting for a new collective agreement, the month of March could be the opposite, with a lot of fun ahead.
The Yankees, who didn’t do much before the lockout, will be in the running for the biggest free agents. By the way, the Bombers don’t just need to beef up first base. It may be the first Yankees team in a long time to come into March with question marks at catcher, first base, shortstop, center field and left-handed power.
For his part, Correa has shone in the playoffs on more than one occasion with the Astros and his Houston team won it all in 2017. The Puerto Rican is only 27 years old and although there have been some questions about the health of his back , he will find a juicy contract, maybe even to return to Houston. His former manager, AJ Hinch, is now with Detroit, a team looking to make an impact signing.
The Tigers reached an agreement with Puerto Rican Javier Báez before the lockout. Baez moved to second with the Mets because they had countryman Francisco Lindor at shortstop. Baez could do the same in Detroit to clear a path for Correa.
There will also be changes. We keep hearing that the A’s may be willing to part with a lot of players as their stars head for more arbitration money. It was reported Saturday that Oakland sent pitcher Chris Bassitt to the Mets. One name linked to the Yankees is Matt Olson, who hit 39 home runs with Oakland last year and is four years Freeman’s junior.
We’ve gone from having no action at all in baseball to possibly an avalanche of movement. Negotiations for a new labor contract lasted 14 weeks. Stay tuned for the next three.
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March will be a month of great movements