That the traditional mammoth spenders — the Dodgers and Yankees — are fixating on sinking under the 7 million luxury-tax threshold has affected the market, as has the desire to tighten the payroll belt by teams such as the Mets and Tigers.
But the absence of financial behemoths should be emboldening teams that often avoid this marketplace; there is a clearer path than usual to the top of the heap.
That Scott Boras controls five of the biggest free agents (Jake Arrieta, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, J. Martinez and Mike Moustakas) has been cited because his history is to patiently wait until his best clients are paid as he sees commensurate to their value.
Still, that might mean taking one, perhaps two significant players into a new year, not all five as it looks will happen.
And here is something else to remember: Like Fielder, Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton and Alex Rodriguez also were on these types of free-agent contracts through last season and never took an at-bat.
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Then there are a bunch in which you wonder if the teams would do again, such as Zack Greinke, who has had one below-average season and one terrific one on his six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks, who might feel unable to re-sign Martinez or eventually Paul Goldschmidt long term because of how much Greinke is eating.
Would the Mets, one season into Yoenis Cespedes’ four-year, 0 million deal, do it again, especially now that they are payroll cutting?
Robinson Cano is four years through the same deal, coming off his first DL stint in a decade and arguably his worst season.
Prince Fielder (nine years, 4 million) did not play last year and is now retired because of a neck injury, and though insurance is picking up a bulk of the cost for the Rangers and Tigers, he is still officially signed through 2020.
The Post’s Ken Davidoff annually forecasts how much the top free agents will get.