By the end of spring training this year, there was an angry undercurrent among players and in the union because of the sheer volume of established veterans who were mostly ignored in free agency. Mark Reynolds, a solid defender who was closing in on 300 career homers, would remain unsigned until after the start of the season. Matt Holliday waited for a major league deal, before eventually taking a minor league deal in midseason and ascending to help the Rockies reach the postseason.
The frustration over the experienced players left behind would manifest in suggestions of management collusion, including one incendiary statement by an agent who, by the end of 2018, would be picked to be the general manager of the Mets.
This winter, there is bound to be more money spent on free agents than during the last offseason, as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and a handful of others accumulate hundreds of millions of dollars in deals.
But for the rank and file -- for players like Holliday, Reynolds and many, many relievers -- it almost certainly will be a very cold winter of waiting for expected offers that never evolve.