Time for an NBA-style signing deadline? Why MLB's free-agent frenzy should be an annual event

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It was fun while it lasted.

For two glorious weeks, we got a glimpse of what baseball's hot stove season could look like if allowed to flower to its full potential. It began with a few trickles in the middle of November -- an Eduardo Rodriguez here, a Noah Syndergaard there -- and two weeks later was a full-blown gusher. The signings came so fast it was dizzying, in a good way.

Then, at the end of the first day of December, the fire hose of transactions stopped, as if someone forgot to pay the water bill. Since then, it's been crickets, save for a few minor league invites. All we're left with are the last publicly issued, self-serving statements from both sides of baseball's great money dispute echoing through streets that only a few days ago were filled with shouts and laughter.

Or, to put it in less grandiose terms: An offseason that was so much fun has suddenly turned into a major bummer. Thank goodness for Sunday's glorious announcements from the Hall of Fame.

Now that baseball's offseason has been halted by the great cosmic pause button, let's take a moment to acknowledge that baseball stumbled onto something pretty great when it spurred a frenzy of activity in advance of a jarring shutdown we all knew was coming. Why not learn from that and make an MLB free-agent deadline an annual event?