The situation is this:
- Young players are taking extensions that buy out their free agent years
- Teams are thinking more similarly about free agents’ values due to the statistical revolution of the past 20+ years
- MLBPA is prioritizing days off instead of getting a slice of the increasingly large revenue pie
- Teams are convincing fans it’s OK to tank and not spend money on free agents, for 3–4 years because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships
- A luxury tax is acting as a salary cap, slowing down spending on free agents
It all adds up to the slowest offseason in the history of free agency, if you measure by how many available free agents have signed through the end of January.