In the market as a whole. There has really been a chill on free-agent pursuits. It's alarming. And we're seeing a real tectonic shift in the calendar as a result. There was a time when there was a rush to sign free agents around Thanksgiving. There was a rush on free agents around the winter meetings, and that it seemed odd that Jeff Suppan didn't have a deal done until Christmas Eve. The schedule has been elongated. For many reasons. One, teams are so data-driven and analytical that it's hard to find that team that doesn't want to squeeze and agent for every last value -- and will wait to do so. Keep in mind -- and this is important -- job openings are not the commodity not the talents and teams control the job openings. They'll fill them how they want. Some won't fill them competitively at all. And some won't spend 10x more dollars to get a player with only 2x more WAR, for example. Second, baseball has no incentive for tightening this blob that the winter has become. Baseball loves that its game is in the headlines year round. It's one of the things that Selig wanted to have, and that's part of the reason why it doesn't have the free agent mad dash that the NFL, NHL, and NBA does. It unfolds slower, gets more headlines, generates more tweeting, and keeps the hot stove on every fan's mind. Look at the traffic a chat like this generates -- or like yesterday's chat, or MLB Network's coverage.
Third, the hyper detailed and hyped-up coverage gives you the sense of a lot of talk and not a lot of action because that is what goes on. You were saved from how the sausage is made when the paper printed once a day. Something happened, it was the headline. Now, with rolling coverage throughout the day you get a play by play of the process and it seems like nothing is happening.
It's the different between being a parent and not really recognizing how your kid grows because you see him/her every day and being a aunt or an uncle who visits every six months and goes, "Darn, that kid has grown seven inches." Same thing here. You see the minute by minute roll out of information, speculation, guessing, rumors, and reports -- vs. the end of day or next-day deal is done stuff. It really does give the sense that nothing is happening because all you've heard is all the things that could happen.