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Data: FanGraphs; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

"The holiday shopping season is upon us, and what better way to bring cheer than by signing a free agent." MLB teams will be looking to do just that in the coming weeks.

Yes, but: We could be in for another long, cold winter, as many of the same forces that made last year's free agency so frustratingly slow are still at play.

  • Last week, Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos made some questionable comments on a conference call, saying that Atlanta "had time to connect with 27 of the clubs … to get a sense of what [they] are going to look to do in free agency." (He later said he misspoke.)
  • MLBPA boss Tony Clark fired back, saying that Anthopoulos' comments "call[ed] into question the integrity of the entire free-agency system. The clear description of club coordination is egregious."
  • Meanwhile, baseball's current labor agreement is set to expire after the 2021 season and a work stoppage feels imminent given the relations between the union and management.

The bottom line: "It is within this strained atmosphere that baseball's offseason talent marketplace will play out," writes WashPost's Dave Sheinen.

  • "Business will go on, with 30 teams still hoping to address various needs and dozens of players still in need of new homes by Opening Day. But the labor unrest will never be far from the surface."

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.