Will Yu Darvish signing signal a spring training free-agent thaw as camps open?

As spring training begins, the real intrigue is as much about who’s not in camp as who is there.

But maybe that will change in a hurry, starting with Yu Darvish going to the Cubs on Saturday for six years and $126 million — the biggest signing of this mostly-stalled free-agent market.


What the starting rotation will look like is just one of the pressing questions the Orioles face as spring training begins.

Not that Jake Arrieta is getting a contract that big, but there has been an expectation among baseball executives that once Darvish signed, a run on starting pitchers could follow quickly.

Indeed, teams like the Dodgers, Twins and Brewers, who were reportedly in on the Darvish bidding until the end, could turn their sights quickly to the likes of Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb.

Can vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette turn it around over the last weekend before workouts start?

As for the Yankees, a source on Saturday said they backed off any pursuit of Darvish in recent weeks after having no luck finding a way to trade Jacoby Ellsbury to free up payroll room, with their priority still to stay under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold.

In any case, even if the Darvish signing sparks more activity, there are still 100 or so players looking for jobs, which should make for an especially fascinating spring training, as many surely will begin panicking and perhaps sign team-friendly deals.

Some of those signings will dramatically affect the outlook of one team or another, so while acknowledging that many scenarios could change before Opening Day, click here or the above photo gallery to see the Top 10 storylines.

On Feb. 8, 2008, the Orioles made a franchise-altering trade when they acquired Adam Jones, along with pitchers Chris Tillman, George Sherrill, Kam Mickolio and Tony Butler, in exchange for left-hander Erik Bedard. Four years later, the Orioles had their first winning season since 1997.