Red Sox

McAdam: Baseball’s offseason is, again, a snoozefest

(Adam Hagy/Getty Images)

There are long stretches of time when nothing is happening.
It seems like everyone is just standing around.
I just don't have the time to commit to it.
Why can't they do things more quickly, like the other sports?

To be clear, those aren't comments about baseball's laborious pace-of-play -- though they certainly could be.

Sadly, they all apply to baseball's offseason and the virtual elimination -- intentional or not -- of the Hot Stove League.

Here it is, the New Year and for now, spring training is still scheduled to get underway next month. Opening Day -- again, as this is written -- is less than three months away.

So why doesn't it feel that way? Why has so little been done in terms of free agency and trades? Why, to paraphrase something you might be tempted to shout at your TV when more than two hours have elapsed and the game you're watching is only in the fifth inning, isn't......anything.......happening?

This isn't anything new, unfortunately. This winter ennui first became a talked-about thing in the winter of 2017-2018 when two of the best position players in the game, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, had to wait until after the start of spring training to get worthwhile offers.

But what some thought was merely an aberration has become a discernible, honest-to-goodness trend.

On January 4, just three of the Top 10 free agents as highlighted by MLB Trade Rumors have signed, and each was a special circumstance: Marcus Stroman and Kevin Gausman accepted one-year qualifying offers at the deadline in November and Korean infielder Ha-Seong Kim signed a four-year deal with the Padres because his posting period was coming to a close.

Otherwise, just two North American free agents among the top 32 players listed have signed a non-qualifying offer -- catcher James McCann and reliever Trevor May, both with the New York Mets.

Were it not for Steve Cohen, the newly approved owner of the Mets eager to make a splash and San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller, who pulled off a free agent signing and two blockbuster deals for starting pitchers all in the span of a few days between Christmas and New Year's, there wouldn't be any activity at all this winter.

None.

The best free-agent outfielder (George Springer) is still up for grabs. So, too, is the best free-agent infielder (D.J. LeMahieu). And the best free-agent starter (Trevor Bauer). And the best reliever (Liam Hendriks). And the best DH (Marcell Ozuna). And the best....

Well, you get the idea.

This, of course, includes your Boston Red Sox, too. The Sox