Spring training starts in less than a month. Every major free agent is signed. Almost all of the second and third echelons also have jobs. It’s like Major League Baseball’s free agency doesn’t have to bleed out at the start of a new season.

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With such clarity, we can draw conclusions, lessons and trends – something that informs not only about the last three months, but also about the upcoming season and possibly the coming years. Teams have guaranteed players a record $3.8 billion this winter. Maybe the exception is the merging of the free agent class with a bigger-than-usual group of stellar talent, a new collective bargaining agreement that drives up costs, and a handful of motivated owners willing to defy convention and logic in the quest. victory. Or maybe it’s just the new normal.

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Time will show. In any case, there is something to think about – some of this points to a new era, some of it reinforces old thoughts. All of this, however, is representative of a period of free agency that will not be forgotten anytime soon.

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Here are eight things free will has taught us.