Justin Upton has eight years and 60 days in the big leagues, and for the first time in his baseball life, the three-time All-Star has the opportunity to sign anywhere he wants, as a free agent.
That's the theory anyway -- the reality appears to be very different. Upton's agent, Larry Reynolds, typically gets his clients off the board quickly each winter. But as 2015 prepares to turn into 2016, Upton and many other accomplished veterans are still unsigned, seemingly constricted in a market in which the very best pitchers and Jason Heyward were paid very well and now the flow of dollars has slowed.
We are deep enough into the offseason that players and their agents are presumably reviewing and reassessing strategy, and if they believe their chances for the whopper long-term deal they envisioned three months ago have dwindled or disappeared, the time for target alteration is nearing.
For some free agents -- and Upton might fall into this group, along with Scott Kazmir, Ian Desmond and others -- the benefits of taking a one-year deal at a preferred destination should be considered. For others, such as Yovani Gallardo and Ian Kennedy, perhaps waiting to sign until after the start of the 2016 season could be better.
The high volume of high-quality free-agent options has almost certainly worked against most of the players still unsigned.