MLB free agency: Astros SP Justin Verlander says system is ‘broken’

Astros pitcher Justin Verlander said MLB’s free agency system is “broken” on Monday, tweeting about the “100 or so free agents left unsigned.” The seven-time All-Star also noted the ongoing negotiations between teams and 26-year-old superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, both of whom remain unsigned with the first spring training games less than two weeks away.

Verlander is far from the only major leaguer to criticize the dampened free-agent market.

“We are less then a month from the start of spring and once again some of our games biggest starts remain unsigned. Such a shame,” Giants third baseman Evan Longoria wrote on Instagram in January. “As players we need to stand strong for what we believe we are worth and continue to fight for the rights we have fought for time and time again.”

Verlander has previously benefitted from the glory days of marquee free agents signing large contracts. The former Cy Young Award winner inked a seven-year, $180 million deal with the Tigers in 2013. He will hit free agency again in 2020 facing a far less prosperous market for starting pitchers.

Still, Verlander remains a legitimate ace. He went 16–9 with a 2.52 ERA in 2018. He led the AL in strikeouts with 290.