• Follow us


Baseball’s off-season could benefit from a little TMZ-like coverage | The Star

Major League Baseball could learn a thing or two from the free-agent frenzy currently taking place in the National Basketball Association.

Toronto’s sporting world came to a standstill Wednesday afternoon with reports that Kawhi Leonard flew into the city from Los Angeles. Closed-circuit cameras zoomed in on tarmacs, helicopters were commissioned to follow a black SUV, hundreds of people showed up outside a downtown hotel. Social media tracked every movement.

Some people were appalled by the TMZ-like coverage, others hung on every word. What all groups appeared to share in common was they could not look away. No matter how ridiculous the whole situation seemed to be, it became must-watch television. A sport putting itself directly into the spotlight and dominating the headlines.

Leonard clearly is a special case. Most free agents do not generate this type of attention, nor should they, but the way Week 1 of free agency was handled in the NBA is still a clear indicator of how much the business in baseball needs to change. Free agency is broken, and it can’t continue to operate under its current form for much longer.

There was no shortage of drama in the NBA this week. In the first eight hours of the NBA free agency period, 48 players signed contracts valued at more than $3.2 billion (U.S.). Fans and reporters were glued to their phones, not wanting to miss the game of musical chairs as the league completely transformed.


Compare that to the most recent MLB off-season, a winter that had been anticipated for years and that the league had touted as the best in recent memory. It wasn’t quite the countdown to LeBron James’ free agency but, with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado set to hit the open market, it was supposed to be baseball’s version of the next best thing.

Read more:

Opinion | Gregor Chisholm: Lights-out relief is the deal Dombrowski never seems to close

Rays fans hope signs point toward staying in Tampa Bay

Blue Jays are among four AL teams that could finish with 100 losses or more this season

Then the off-season opened for business and all the stores were empty. Hardly any teams seemed interested in spending money, or even pretending they aspired to field a contender. Instead of racing to be the first to submit an offer, front offices appeared allergic to putting pen to paper. In the NBA, there have already been 11 players signed to deals worth more than $100 million. In baseball’s off-season, there were three.

The Yankees bowed out of the major free agents, the Red Sox wanted no part of it, the Dodgers seemed disinterested in doing much of anything and everyone else was more worried about finding market inefficiencies than signing big-name players. November, December and January all came and went with hardly any deals, barely any rumours. It wasn’t until mid-February that Machado signed. Harper missed the first two weeks of spring training before reaching his deal.


The biggest issue in MLB free agency right now is that players are no longer being rewarded for past performances. Instead, front offices have evolved to the point where executives believe they are in a better position to predict the future with modern analytics combined with historical data associated with aging players.

In theory, that’s a good thing. Teams want to make a habit of paying players what they are currently worth, not for the value they used to bring. The news is far less positive for the players who are dealing with the change in philosophy while also having their salaries artificially driven down by service time manipulation, three years of rookie-scale contracts and three more years of arbitration.

That might be acceptable enough if you’re Harper, who debuted at 19 and became a free agent at 26 in the prime of his career. It’s another thing entirely if you’re Josh Donaldson and not hitting free agency until age 32. Nobody should feel bad for players making $20 million a year, but it feels like they should have some say in where they play before entering the downside of their careers.

Baseball used to be the sport that remained in the news for 11 months of the year. Teams aggressively tried to sign players in November with an annual slew of trades before the December winter meetings. Organizations then spent January and February marketing their teams in the lead-up to the start of camp while the front offices enjoyed a well-deserved break.

Now it feels like the off-season has barely even started by the time teams report in the spring. In 2018, the Blue Jays signed Seunghwan Oh, John Axford and Tyler Clippard after players started reporting to camp. This year, it was Clay Buchholz and Bud Norris.

The lack of deals got so bad two years ago that the MLB Players’ Association had to hold its own camp to provide unsigned players with a place to train. Some people might call it collusion amongst the owners, a collective effort to drive down costs. Others might call it good business, with veteran players finally being paid what they are worth instead of being handed blank cheques.

Regardless of the cause, it’s clear the current system is broken. Edwin Encarnacion should not be traded for peanuts at a time when he is leading the AL in home runs. Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel should not have to wait until after the June draft to find suitable homes.

This is a game that doesn’t have enough contending teams. It’s also a game that has started to limit what veterans are able to earn on the open market. That’s all fine and good, but owners shouldn’t act surprised in two years time when the players start demanding quicker paths to free agency. If the veterans aren’t going to get paid, the younger players better be.

If not, there won’t just be a countdown until free agency, there will be a countdown to a labour strike.

Get more opinion in your inbox

Get the latest from your favourite Star columnists with our Opinion newsletter.

Sign Up Now

Gregor Chisholm is a Toronto-based baseball columnist for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @GregorChisholm or reach him via email: gchisholm@thestar.ca

Read More

Leave A Comment

More News


Gregor Chisholm: Baseball’s off-season could benefit from a 2019-07-03 19:37:28While basketball fans get caught up in the frenzy of their sport’s free agency, the open market in baseball has felt closed for business in rece

Rays fans hope signs point toward staying in 2019-07-03 19:30:37Locals use signs to help prevent Major League Baseball from partially relocating to Montreal.

For Toronto FC, it’s time to move on 2019-07-03 19:21:33Toronto had to settle for a single point Saturday after D.C. United pulled even on a 92nd-minute Wayne Rooney penalty.

Rosie DiManno: Felix Auger-Aliassime handles his nerves but 2019-07-03 19:21:28The media, always on the lookout for the next big thing, is latching on to the Canadian teenager.

One Bad Boy to take a run at 2019-07-03 19:02:28Queen’s Plate winner will run in the $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes on July 23 at Fort Erie Racetrack.

John Sterling ends 5,059-game Yankees broadcasting streak 2019-07-03 18:59:28For the first time since 1988, the New York Yankees will play a game Thursday without John Sterling in the broadcast booth, as the 81-year-old play-by

England coasts into Cricket World Cup semifinal 2019-07-03 18:58:31Propelled by another century by Jonny Bairstow, England coasted to a 119-run win over New Zealand.

CFL picks: Roughriders, Fajardo host shaky Stampeders 2019-07-03 18:32:27The CFL’s big Week 4 matchup sees the Saskatchewan Roughriders, led by backup quarterback Cody Fajardo, host the defending Grey Cup champion Cal

Masters sprint star Chris Warburton is racing the 2019-07-03 17:53:27Pickering resident hopes to become the oldest sprinter eclipse 11 seconds in the 100 metres.

News helicopter stalks van, believed to contain Kawhi 2019-07-03 15:10:25The journey of a black van from Pearson airport to downtown Toronto was broadcast live on news station CP24 through via helicopter, the latest strange

Roughriders QB, Stampeders receiver, Ticats lineman named CFL 2019-07-03 10:53:22Fajardo, in his second career start, completed 24-of-31 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns to beat the Toronto Argonauts 32-7 on Canada Day.

Kawhi-apalooza: We knew it was going to be 2019-07-03 08:10:00Plus dopey drivers and traffic circles, some Vladdy Jr. in the home run thing and a plea for weekend mail

CBC | Sports News

Rafael Devers goes deep twice as Red Sox 2019-07-02 22:46:32Rafael Devers hit two home runs and had six RBIs as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 10-6 on Tuesday.

Fired by Kings, coach Darryl Sutter returns to 2019-07-02 22:22:56Longtime Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter joined the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday as an adviser to new coach Dallas Eakins' staff, enlivening an oth

Potential suitor for Alouettes says he's no longer 2019-07-02 19:42:59Montreal businessman Clifford Starke said Tuesday he has withdrawn his offer to purchase the Montreal Alouettes.

Nazem Kadri sorry to leave improved Leafs, but 2019-07-02 18:12:26Nazem Kadri knew for a while he might get caught in the trade winds swirling around the salary cap-squeezed Maple Leafs. That doesn't make his depart

Former skiers reach out-of-court deal with Alpine Canada 2019-07-02 17:23:30Former skiers Geneviève Simard, Gail Kelly and Anna Prchal accused the sports federation of covering up Charest's sexual abuse in the interest

Marnie McBean on the 'silent impact' of being 2019-07-02 17:21:00Canada's chef de mission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics believes being even a small part of Olympians' success means a job well done.

U.S. into World Cup final as missed penalty 2019-07-02 15:30:23Defending champions United States reached the women's World Cup final for the fifth time after an incident-packed 2-1 win over England, who missed a

Heavy-hearted Angels return to field after Skaggs' death 2019-07-02 15:20:28With the memory of Tyler Skaggs weighing heavy on their hearts, the Los Angeles Angels took the field for their first game since the death of the much

Blues coach Craig Berube brings Stanley Cup home 2019-07-02 13:19:21Craig Berube, head coach of the St. Louis Blues, hoisted the trophy over his head on Tuesday as he carried it into the arena in Calahoo, nor

Hurricanes expected to match Sebastian Aho $42M US 2019-07-02 12:46:39The Carolina Hurricanes say they will match the offer sheet tendered to restricted free agent Sebastian Aho by Montreal. The Canadiens signed the 21-y

Slumping Shapovalov, Bouchard make quick exits 2019-07-02 11:53:46Two of the biggest names in Canadian tennis remain locked in slumps after being bounced in the first round of Wimbledon on Tuesday. Denis Shapovalov o

Nike backs down after Kaepernick objects to shoe 2019-07-02 10:50:08Nike is pulling a tennis shoe adorned with a late-1700s edition of the U.S. flag after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick complained to the shoem

LaPresse.ca - Sports

Mondial féminin: une première finale pour les Pays-Bas 2019-07-03 17:52:00Les Néerlandaises s'offrent leur première finale de Coupe du monde, contre les redoutables Américaines. Elles ont difficilement

Samuel Piette se porte à la défense de 2019-07-03 16:50:00Le milieu de terrain Samuel Piette s'est porté à la défense de l'entraîneur-chef John Herdman quatre jours après l

Ezekiel Elliott ne sera pas suspendu par la 2019-07-03 16:25:00Ezekiel Elliott ne sera pas suspendu pour une altercation alléguée entre un agent de sécurité et la vedette des Cowboys de

Megan Rapinoe se sent «profondément Américaine» 2019-07-03 15:33:00«Je me sens profondément Américaine», a souligné l'attaquante des États-Unis Megan Rapinoe mercredi à

Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic et Kevin Anderson avancent 2019-07-03 15:19:00Les finalistes de Wimbledon l'an dernier ont atteint le troisième tour du tournoi majeur londonien dans un intervalle de quelques minutes merc

Le Canadien embauche l'attaquant Phil Varone 2019-07-03 11:22:00Le Canadien s'est entendu avec l'attaquant Phil Varone. Il s'agit d'un contrat d'un an, à deux volets, prévoyant un salaire de 700&

Wimbledon : Auger-Aliassime et Raonic au troisième tour 2019-07-03 11:19:00Félix Auger-Aliassime et Milos Raonic ont atteint le troisième tour au tournoi de Wimbledon, mercredi.

Canadien: les options du patron 2019-07-03 09:25:00C'est maintenant essentiellement confirmé : le Canadien a raté son coup dans le dossier Sebastian Aho.

Le Canadien meilleur durant moins de 24 heures... 2019-07-03 07:45:00Ce retour à la réalité est rapide et brutal. Et sur le plan de la perception, ses effets sont lourds. Le gros coup tent

Gold Cup: déception pour les partisans montréalais de 2019-07-03 06:50:00Difficile de passer à côté de la déception des supporters de l'équipe nationale de soccer d'Haïti, hier soir

Luc Brodeur-Jourdain: «Je voyais le sablier devant moi» 2019-07-03 05:00:00Luc Brodeur-Jourdain savait mieux que quiconque qu'il n'occuperait plus jamais un poste de partant chez les Alouettes. En annonçant

Mondial féminin: les États-Unis en finale 2019-07-02 16:56:00Alex Morgan a célébré son but qui a fait la différence en faisant semblant de boire du thé, Alyssa Naeher a stopp&e

Global News : Sports

NHL free agency roundup: Canadiens sign Sebastian Aho 2019-07-01 17:51:10Hurricanes GM Don Waddell says team officials will discuss whether to match the offer sheet the Canadiens tendered to restricted free agent forward Se

Jays ride season-high 18 hits to 11-4 win 2019-07-01 17:22:37Charlie Montoyo always believed his hitters were better than what they have shown for much of the season.

Rower Marnie McBean named Team Canada chief for 2019-07-01 13:19:26McBean was named Canada's chef de mission for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games on Monday as part of the Canada Day festivities at Parliament Hill.

Jamal Murray makes history with biggest-ever NBA deal 2019-07-01 12:52:06The 22-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., agreed to a five-year, US$170 million contract extension with the Denver Nuggets.

Will he stay or will he go? Wait 2019-07-01 08:20:13Monday marks the first full day of NBA free agency and there are still many unanswered questions.

Kevin Durant to sign with Brooklyn Nets, leaving 2019-06-30 19:12:07Durant won titles with Golden State in 2017 and ’18 then was injured for much of this postseason as the team lost the NBA Finals in six games to

Marcus Stroman named Blue Jays all-star 2019-06-30 18:11:51Major League Baseball has selected ace Marcus Stroman as the Toronto Blue Jays representative for the all-star game in Cleveland next week.

Five-run inning helps Royals edge Blue Jays 2019-06-30 16:43:21A five-run outburst in the third inning was enough for the Kansas City Royals to beat the Blue Jays 7-6 on Sunday to end Toronto's small two-game win

Jays phenom Guerrero Jr. enters Home Run Derby 2019-06-30 16:21:35Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is looking forward to Major League Baseball's all-star break. Not for the potential money he could earn, but to showcase his sk

Leerdam’s late winner gives Sounders 1-0 win over 2019-06-30 13:45:13Vancouver saw its six-game unbeaten streak come to an end, although five of the six had finished in draws.

Blue Jays rally from 6-run deficit, beat Red 2019-06-22 20:31:48The Toronto Blue Jays didn't even have to wait 24 hours to pay Boston back for their comeback victory.

David Ortiz is in good condition, out of 2019-06-22 19:05:58Tiffany Ortiz said in a statement distributed by the Red Sox on Saturday that the ex-Boston slugger remains hospitalized and is in good condition, alm

Top Sports stories

Toronto warms up to a cold one 2019-07-03 20:04:58It has taken four years, but Toronto Councillor Mike Layton says the city is finally making it much easier for entrepreneurs to tap into the growing l

LILLEY: Canadians are voting Scheer with their wallets 2019-07-03 19:48:30There are polls which gauge voter support and try to predict which way an election might go, and then there are the ways people vote with their wallet

LILLEY: Trudeau government slips on ethics again 2019-07-03 19:37:33We have an ethically challenged federal government, no one can deny that. Our prime minister has been found in violation of ethics law violations as h

EDITORIAL: The Liberals have problems with judicial independence 2019-07-03 19:31:45It’s not enough that politicians be clear of actual wrongdoing when it comes to misdeeds, such as corruption or improperly interfering with the

MANDEL: Court criticizes Toronto JP for waiving victim 2019-07-03 19:26:50The Robin Hood of Toronto East court has had his knuckles rapped — and so Justice of the Peace Patrick Marum won’t be waiving the victim f

Netherlands get past Sweden in listless semifinal at 2019-07-03 19:12:29LYON — Sweden and the Netherlands was never going to live up to United States and England, but at least they could have tried to put on a better

GOLDSTEIN: Canadians want fewer refugees, while Liberals want 2019-07-03 19:06:37A slew of recent public opinion polls on Canadian attitudes toward immigrants and refugees — the latest one commissioned by the CBC — sugg

Roxodus Music Festival cancelled due to ‘rainy weather’ 2019-07-03 18:57:02Provincial police are reportedly investigating the company behind the now-cancelled Roxodus Festival. The four-day rock fest was set for July 11-14 at

FUREY: China just laughed in Canada’s face – 2019-07-03 18:47:41The Chinese government has now delivered what the kids today would call a “sick burn” against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Af

Coyotes will get their Phil 2019-07-03 18:22:31Rick Tocchet, nicknamed ‘the Phil Kessel Whisperer’ for his unique relationship with the quirky star, says the winger is going to be fine

Letters to the Editor for Wednesday, July 3 2019-07-03 00:30:22TWO IDEAS AND TWO ADDICTIONS Since 1974 I have been endorsing two ideas 1) profit sharing with any American citizen that works for a living and 2) Ran

Drake ‘mounting recruiting campaign’ to keep Kawhi Leonard 2019-07-03 00:09:04With #KawhiUpdate and #KawhitotheLakers both trending on social media all day Tuesday, it seems the Raptors are playing their biggest trump card in th


L’agent de Sebastian Aho se défend d’avoir 2019-07-02 20:23:10L’agent de Sebastian Aho, Gerry Johansson, se défend d’avoir manipulé le Canadien de Montréal afin d’obtenir l&

Traversée du Canada: Le sprint final pour Jimmy 2019-07-02 19:58:16Après un peu moins de deux mois et 6000 km parcourus, Jimmy Pelletier a finalement mis le pied à Québec lundi avant d’entre

Clifford Starke ne veut plus des Alouettes 2019-07-02 19:47:43L’homme d’affaires montréalais Clifford Starke a indiqué qu’il avait retiré son offre d’acheter les Aloue

Marc-Édouard Vlasic n’est pas intéressé à devenir capitaine 2019-07-02 19:08:56Avec le départ de Joe Pavelski chez les Stars de Dallas, les Sharks de San Jose se retrouvent sans capitaine.

Darryl Sutter se joint aux Ducks 2019-07-02 18:55:14Les Ducks d’Anaheim ont embauché l’entraîneur d’expérience Darryl Sutter à titre de conseiller au personn

Nazem Kadri prêt pour un nouveau défi 2019-07-02 18:47:17S’il avait eu le choix, Nazem Kadri n’aurait probablement pas quitté Toronto.

Impact : des retours qui font du bien 2019-07-02 18:26:04L’Impact de Montréal a bien besoin de renforts par les temps qui courent.

Un choix unanime 2019-07-02 18:17:57Patrick Lachance suit Jakob Pelletier depuis les rangs pee-wee et il l’a vu progresser à tous les niveaux depuis.

Coupe du Monde: les Américaines qualifiées pour la 2019-07-02 17:02:28Les États-Unis, tenants du titre, se sont qualifiés pour la cinquième fois pour la finale du Mondial féminin de football e

Félix Auger-Aliassime fera un arrêt à Québec en 2019-07-02 17:00:44Félix Auger-Aliassime fera un arrêt par la Vieille capitale le 14 septembre prochain.

Jacques Rougeau père est décédé 2019-07-02 16:52:43L’ancien lutteur québécois Jacques Rougeau père est mort lundi à l’âge de 89 ans des suites d’une

Le baseball majeur pleure la mort de Tyler 2019-07-02 16:40:45Le décès de Tyler Skaggs, lundi, a laissé un vide immense dans la vie des proches du lanceur des Angels de Los Angeles.

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.