Why MLB insiders predict a long, cold winter for free agents

Relief pitchers are viewed as the most volatile of baseball assets, the stocks that can soar or plunge unpredictably, but Brad Hand has been one of the bets that has paid off most consistently. Acquired in a waiver claim by the Padres at the outset of the 2016 season, Hand led the majors in appearances in his first summer with San Diego, with 82. Over his past five seasons, with the Padres and Indians, he has had a 2.70 ERA with 104 saves and three All-Star appearances. If there had been an All-Star Game this year, he likely would've been picked again. He's just 30 years old, very young in left-hander dog years.

But last week, Cleveland dumped him, for nothing, a transaction that sent shockwaves through an industry -- a business, mind you, that already had been preparing for a market earthquake that could leave free-agent salaries in tatters.