The 2018-2019 offseason was more than a let down. This has been an offseason that fans have been looking forward to for several years, only to be bored by the lack of trades and free agent signings. As I write this, Bryce Harper still hasn’t signed along with other big names like Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. Saying that the offseason was slow is an understatement and the fact that spring training has started with these players still on the market isn’t a good look. I’m not going to banter for long about the problems that this year’s offseason has arose but instead I want to take a look at some other reasons as to why this offseason never lived up to its expectations.
Jose Fernandez was supposed to be a free agent this offseason. He was one of the best pitchers in the game before being killed in a boating accident over two years ago. If he was still alive it can be interesting to hypothesize as to what may have happened in his career. Would he have been traded like Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich as a part of the Marlin’s rebuild? If so, then when would this trade have occurred? I can’t even imagine if he was still alive and how much different the league would be. Imagine if Derek Jeter and the Marlins held off trading him until the trade deadline just this past year. What if he led the team that acquired him to a championship? Say a team like the Athletics had acquired him, which may be a stretch, but what if he led them past the Yankees in the wild card game? The Athletics still probably would have lost to the Red Sox in the divisional series round like the Yankees did, so not much would have changed. What if he was acquired by the Cubs instead? Let’s say he put the Cubs over the hump in the second half of the season and led them deep into the postseason. The Cubs season ended much sooner than most had hoped for, so imagine if instead Jose Fernandez had been there to lead them to a championship. It’s unfortunate that all of these questions will never have answers to them and that the life of Jose Fernandez ended to soon.
Matt Harvey was also supposed to be a big part of the superstar class this offseason. He was still a free agent this offseason as he signed a deal with the Angels for one year worth $11 million dollars. Harvey isn’t the pitcher that he once was and many would not have foreseen this career path for him even just a few years back. Harvey was the ace of the 2015 Mets, a team that lost to the Royals in the world series. After that season he was never the same player again. Ever since the Met’s manager at the time, Terry Collins, let Harvey go back out for the ninth inning of game five he has never been the same pitcher. Since that night, he is yet to have a season where he has recorded an ERA below 4.50. His strikeouts have gone down too as he was once able to average a K/9 that would sit around nine or above. Now he isn’t able to approach those kinds of numbers. His time with the Mets ended just this past year as he was traded to the Reds. If Harvey was still the pitcher today that he once was, than he would have been another big name on the market. Instead he has become a completely different player now and has never been the pitcher he once was. Similar to Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey is one of the biggest “what if” scenarios in all of baseball.
At the very beginning of the offseason, Clayton Kershaw signed a three year deal worth $93 million dollars. A contract that seemed to be good for both sides of the deal. The Dodgers did a great job at locking him up early and for a good length. The deal doesn’t really have a lot of risk for the Dodgers since Kershaw performs year in and year out. Kershaw is also currently thirty years of age, so I don’t think this offer could be any better as far as contract length goes. The Dodgers really won this deal as Kershaw probably could have walked after opting-out of his current contract and have signed for the same yearly amount but in a longer contract. If he had, the offseason would have been more exciting as a third superstar would have hit the market. If he had, I wonder as to if he would still currently be a free agent alongside Bryce Harper. Just imagine if Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey had also been major free agents this offseason. The world of baseball would have been very different but unfortunately this is the reality that we live in. There is always next year to look forward to, Mike Trout will be a free agent and who knows how big a deal he could get.
Sources include Baseball Savant and MLB.com