For agents, there is a lot of time spent in client management, in making sure the player understands how the market works. Most would probably like to sign quickly, to settle the future and have something concrete to tell family members at the holiday gatherings.
But mostly it does not work out that way, because mostly, players and their agents have to wait for the bottlenecks to clear. Each of the position markets often plays out independently of the others, and it behooves the agents and the players and teams to wait for the “Big Dawg” in each group to set the market price. This is why you will suddenly see a burst of activity for one position or another — like at the winter meetings last year, when there was a sudden run on relievers.
With that in mind, here are some of the bottlenecks in the free-agent market.
Closers: Craig Kimbrel was the only reliever extended a $17.9 million qualifying offer, and because he rejected that, he is now set up as the No. 1 option among many, many options in the bullpen market.