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After a dramatic playoff run and World Series final, baseball fans had to endure a very quiet offseason.
The free agent market was very slim this year, and probably the only true blockbuster trade was the Red Sox acquiring Chris Sale from the White Sox in exchange for top prospect Yoan Moncada (the Lucas Giolito for Adam Eaton trade is interesting as well).
Today, though we officially say goodbye to the offseason, and say hello to Spring because Spring Training has officially begun.
Pitchers and catchers for the Mets and Rays officially reported on Feb 12, and 10 other teams had their pitchers and catchers report yesterday. As of today, only the Dodgers will be left (their report date is Feb 15).
For card collectors and hobbyists, it is time to dust off our collections from the winter hibernation and put on our rose-colored glasses. With the dawn of a new season, every team (with a few exceptions) is feeling optimistic about their upcoming year.
Some teams are excited about championship aspirations, but even non-contending teams are eager to see if any of their prized prospects have taken a step forward, and with excitement and optimism, comes excellent selling opportunities.
But here’s the tricky thing – Spring Training can also represent the end of a buy low window.
Events in Spring Training will adjust how teams set their line-ups for the coming season. Perhaps a top prospect explodes in Spring Training, proving that he deserves a spot in the rotation/lineup (think Jose Fernandez jumping from A-ball to the majors right away).
Other times, a team may be unwavering about their call-up schedule, but spring ball will at least provide some validation that a player is for real (think Kris Bryant before the 2015 season). For others, it is an opportunity to showcase that they are fully over a serious injury and ready to prove they can contribute at a high level.
There will be countless stories and events that will be worth monitoring this Spring Training, which could affect buy and sell opportunities for baseball cards. We will be keeping track of these stories and reporting those we think matter most.