Forecasting an ugly market for next winter's free agents

Yu Darvish is expected to be one of the best available pitchers on the market next winter. Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire

Yoenis Cespedes can spend more money on custom cars, if he chooses, after getting $110 million from the New York Mets. And Rich Hill shed happy tears after signing his $48 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers -- his first big-money contract at age 36.

But some agents think there have been far more free-agent disappointments this winter than success stories, a trend some player representatives believe will continue into next offseason because of a general erosion of the value of free agency.

Generally, the overall quality of next year's free-agent class is forecast to be better than what teams picked through this winter, with Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish expected to head the list of pitchers available in the market.

But because a number of teams seem to be treating the newly negotiated luxury tax thresholds as a hard cap, the best players in the market could find the bidding for them stifled by concerns over how much budget space clubs want to devote to individual players.