Spring training camps open next week in Florida and Arizona, and barring a rush of hot stove activity between now and then, many free agents will still be unsigned. Only 28 of our top 50 free agents have signed, including only three of the top 10.
Earlier this week it was reported the MLB Players Association may put together a spring training camp for free agents to help them prepare for the season. That camp will indeed happen, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Sources: Spring-training camp for unsigned free agents will be at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fl.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 8, 2018
According to E-mail sent to agents, training camp for unsigned free agents will be led by former #Astros manager Bo Porter. Players’ personal trainers will not be permitted. Travel and housing arranged by union. Players given daily per diem. General liability insurance provided.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 8, 2018
Unsigned free agents will be able to report to the spring-training camp on Tuesday. The first workout will be Wednesday. The site will remain open until March 4, but based on attendance, arrangements can be made to extend until the end of March.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 8, 2018
It's unclear how many free agents will attend the spring training camp -- lots of players live in Arizona and may prefer to stay close to home and work out there -- but at least now they'll all have a place to get ready for the upcoming season.
One group of free agents who will not be there: Scott Boras clients. Boras has his own facilities available to his clients, which include J.D. Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas this offseason, among others.
Scott Boras has no plans to send his clients to a proposed free agent camp. "Boras Corp has two sport fitness institutes with diamonds, cages and weight facilities,'' he said. "We have resources and staffing to make sure our players are prepared when they reach agreements.''— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) February 8, 2018
Also, some signed players may report to the free agent camp next week to show support for their fellow union members.
Source: Signed players likely to appear at union-sponsored training camp for unsigned free agents as show of support. Appearances would occur before signed players report to their teams. Unsigned Scott Boras clients will not attend the camp, per @jcrasnick.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 8, 2018
Signed players briefly considered not reporting to spring training until the mandatory Feb. 24 reporting date, though that plan was shelved because an organized holdout would in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. Players showing up to the free agent camp before reporting to their teams is the next best thing.
The free agent camp is more about helping players prepare for the season rather than showcasing them for interesting teams. These are all veteran players, and teams have already evaluated them and put a dollar number on them. Realistically, nothing a team sees in camp will change their mind about a player. But, the players get to prepare for the season, so that when they do sign, they're ready to contribute right away.