Last year's free agent market was sluggish, albeit less so than this year. The problem this year is that a kind of "soft collusion" among front offices doesn't stand a chance against market forces that will produce the two biggest contracts in the history of major league baseball.
"The 90s were a crucible for pitchers. Newer ballparks were smaller and had stingier foul territories. The strike zone was the size of a license plate. Two rounds of expansion drafts diluted talent. More power hitting followed, as well as more 300 strikeout seasons by elite pitchers. The “Colorado Effect” made a superstar of Larry Walker but was harsh on pitchers who had to survive at high altitude. Baseballs were allegedly juiced. And so were the hitters—allegedly."
Today: the root of The Root, fastball ceiling, gig schmig, pickleball politics, and high hanging fruit.
Long-term, a dearth of homegrown talent in the future puts more pressure on a good return from a Machado trade now. Hopefully the team has a greater capacity for spotting top line talent developed by other teams than developing its own.
Paywalls erode (or, their ability to gauge and adjust to price signals properly weakens) as the marginal value of the digital goods behind them decreases. The marginal value of digital good decreases when 1) too little money chases a surplus of content; or 2) other options (Netflix, Sling TV, piracy, or weak demand) become opportunities for greater value to consumers.
He was the greatest at what he did, and he stood up for what he believed in. Too many heroes are dying this year.