The Hot Stove is Frozen, and Here’s Why

Cubs’ pitchers and catchers report to Mesa in less than two weeks, and the hot stove remains frozen. Almost every baseball fan’s anger level is at a fever pitch.

Big name free agents remain unsigned, and the rumor mill is sounding each of them has seemed to stop.

A lot of baseball fans can’t wrap their heads around why this has arguably been the slowest offseason in Major League Baseball history. However, there are two factors that have been dictating the speed of the offseason the first is the calendar and the second is the luxury tax.

What do I mean by the calendar?

The 2018–2019 offseason, that’s what. With names like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Nelson Cruz, and Dallas Keuchel all set to be free agents after the 2018 season, each of the 30 MLB teams is trying to save every penny they can, so they can dive into what is most likely the greatest free agent class of baseball history.

For the Cubs’ it’s no different. The Cubs have been very strongly linked to Bryce Harper for quite a while now, and they are expected to be one of the teams most involved on the Harper chase. Even though Kris Bryant has spent the offseason lobbying and trying to convince Harper to join the Cubs but lets’ face it, the Alexander Hamiltons and Benjamin Franklins are going to do the majority of the convincing.

The Luxury Tax

The luxury tax is MLB’s version of the salary cap. If any team exceeds the $197 million thresholds, they would have to pay a fine, and the more exceeds the tax, the larger the fine will be. The Cubs are currently projected to stay under the threshold for the 2018 season, but if they were to sign a pitcher like Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta it might bring them relatively close, so it’s a tricky balancing act of saving money and filling glaring hole for 2018, and prepping for a free agent run in 2019.

Let’s face it, spring training is just weeks away, and these players are going to sign somewhere at some point because some money is better than no money, but these players have shown that they are willing to wait until teams come to them. The hot stove is going to catch fire it’s just a matter of when.