Justin Verlander says free agency is 'broken' and that it's 'BS' teams aren't spending

Count Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander among the growing list of Major League Baseball players to publicly speak out against the glacial offseason. Verlander brought the heat Monday, calling free agency “broken,” and saying it was “BS” that teams aren’t spending money.

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Verlander blamed teams hiding behind the rebuilding narrative as the reason Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still on the market.

He wasn’t done there. The 35-year-old Verlander decided to respond to a few fans who disagreed with his initial tweet. In one response, Verlander pointed out that money not spent on players just goes back to teams.

Verlander also refuted the narrative that player salaries drive ticket prices by pointing out that tanking teams don’t dramatically drop ticket prices.

He makes some compelling arguments there. Rebuilding teams should be interested in signing Machado or Harper. As Verlander points out, both players are in their prime, and should remain there for a large portion of their next contract. They could still help rebuilding teams five or six years down the road.

Verlander’s point about money might be one that gets echoed by more players as the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations get closer. Fans have rarely been sympathetic to the fact that players who already make millions want more money. Verlander is trying to get fans to realize money that isn’t spent on players goes back to ownership. It doesn’t get re-invested in the team.

It’s not as if teams are doing that at a time where baseball is struggling. By all accounts, the game is thriving. Revenues are at an all-time high, so there’s plenty of money to go around, but free-agent spending actually decreased last offseason.

Justin Verlander isn’t happy with the way things have gone in free agency. (AP Photo)
Justin Verlander isn’t happy with the way things have gone in free agency. (AP Photo)

Verlander’s final argument attempts to bust another narrative about the game. Among fans, there’s a belief that ticket prices are tied to player salaries. If a team spends $200 million on payroll, ticket prices need to be high to pay off those salaries.

As Verlander notes, bad teams don’t drastically decrease ticket prices when payroll hovers around $50 million. No matter how bad the team is, those prices either stay the same or increase.

Verlander is far from the first player to speak out about the slow offseason. San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria and catcher Buster Posey have made similar comments. Dallas Keuchel — currently a free agent — also expressed frustration with the way things have gone.

This is supposed to be a joyous time for baseball. With pitchers and catchers finally reporting, fans are supposed to get excited about the season to come. That’s difficult to do with so many premium free agents still available.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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