Before I tackle this week's frankenset page, I wanted to share my thoughts on an issue that has become more prevalent over the last few seasons. That is, the time it's taken for big-name free agents to sign with their new teams.
Both MLB writers, as well as players, have spoken out against how long it has taken for marquee free agents, in particular, to sign a contract over the offseason. Their case has been strengthened thanks to the 2018-19 offseason where dozens of players remain unsigned as of February 15th.
Pitchers and catchers have already reported to Spring Training, yet nearly 100 players remain, free agents, including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
Last year, J.D. Martinez didn't agree to his deal with Boston until February 26th. Alex Cobb and the Orioles didn't come to a decision until March 21st, 1 week until the regular season began.
It's clearly an issue, but one question remains; what's causing this to happen.
Personally, I highly doubt there's any collusion going on, preventing players from signing contracts. There's no reason for MLB executives to intentionally refuse talented players. Rather, the free agent market is simply evolving.
Signings like Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Pablo Sandoval, Josh Hamilton, Carl Crawford, and countless others have proven that long-term deals and massive paychecks don't always guarantee success.
In fact, it's quite the opposite, for if a team signs a big-name free agent for, say, 10 years and $300 million dollars, it's unlikely that the club will receive an equal return on investment. MLB free agents certainly deserve to cash in with a respectable paycheck, but the refusal to compromise, on both sides, is continuously perpetuating this issue.
I could go on for much longer about this concern, so I'll move on, for now, to the 41st page of my frankenset. On this page, cards #361-369 are featured.
#361 1992 Fleer Ultra Dan Gladden
I'd prefer not to begin this frankenset page with a card that I'm not overly fond of, but such is the case for card #361, Dan Gladden from '92 Fleer Ultra. The set design is ridiculously boring, and the photo is rather pedestrian, nothing too extraordinary. I tried to find a new card #361 before scanning and cropping the cards from this page, but I was unsuccessful.
#362 1984 Topps David Green
Thankfully, card #362 from 1984 Topps is a major improvement. Aside from the fact that I'm a huge fan of the '84 set, the image is very representative of the 1980s while also remaining rather simple. For an 80s Topps Flagship card, this is pretty much as good as it gets without any colorful uniforms being featured as well.
#363 1991 Fleer Jerry Browne
Fantastic photo choices and the 1991 Fleer set go hand-in-hand, and this specific card is no exception. While the set's yellow borders have made it a rather controversial product, the color isn't the end of the world for me. With that being said, it wouldn't be my first choice when designing a set of Baseball cards.
#364 2017 Topps Heritage Miguel Cabrera
Compared to the 2017 product, 2018 Topps Heritage was somewhat of a let-down, though it was still one of my favorite products of the year. The 1969 Topps set, while boring, is not necessarily what bothered me.
Topps' choice to change the high number SPs from superstars to semi-stars rubbed me the wrong way, even if it made it easier to accumulate cards of guys I collect. Their coalition was also bad, for I ended up with the same 8 short-prints in the 2 hobby boxes that I opened.
#365 2018 Topps Mallex Smith
Almost in spite of themselves, the Rays managed to win 90 games last year. Even though they designated Corey Dickerson for assignment, traded Alex Colome, and sent Chris Archer to the Pirates, Kevin Cash managed to lead his team to 3rd place in quite possibly the most difficult division in Baseball.
Even if they're technically a "rival" of the Red Sox, I wish no ill feelings on the Rays, though I do wish they'd move to Montreal one of these days.
#366 2016 Topps Heritage Diamondbacks team card
I wonder what's to become of these so-called "team cards" once 2019 Topps Heritage is released in just under a couple of weeks. In Series 1, they were replaced with ballpark shots, and in an effort to not be too repetitive, I expect and hope that Topps will return to the classic-style team cards that were used for decades beforehand.
#367 2005 Topps Bobby Crosby
In the original Topps sets from the 60s and 70s, the card company partnered with the Sporting News for the MLB All-Stars' cards and apparently, this partnership continued through at least 2005. However, present-day Topps Heritage sets say the "Topps News" on them, leaving me curious as to when this partnership ended.
#368 1990 Donruss Kirk Gibson
Even though Kirk Gibson was well past his prime by the time 1990 came along, his home run in the 1988 World Series had cemented him as a hero for the LA Dodgers, combined with his 1988 NL MVP award as well.
It's pretty difficult to elevate the 1990 Donruss set, but this card is definitely more of a stand out than I'm used to from the Junk Wax era.
#369 1974 Topps Paul Lindblad
I'm pleased whenever I'm able to include at least one vintage card on each page of my frankenset, especially when it features a colorful uniform from the 60s or 70s. Paul Lindblad's yellow and gold Oakland Athletics uniform is truly a classic, and it certainly ends page #41 of the frankenset at a much higher level than how it began.