Is free agency dead in baseball? Not entirely, though this winter will feature fewer potential franchise-changers than in years past, for two related reasons.
One is that several clubs who could previously be counted upon to spend big, like the Mets, Red Sox and Yankees -- and, last winter anyway, the Marlins -- seem to be in cost-cutting mode.
Another is that organizations now strive to sign their young stars to extensions that prevent them from reaching the open market. This season alone, All-Stars including the Giants' Matt Cain, the Dodgers' Andre Ethier, the Phillies' Cole Hamels, the Cardinals' Yadier Molina and the Diamondbacks' Miguel Montero re-upped with their current teams, precluding them from joining this off-season's free agent class.