While there have been many reports on the Internet in sports gaming circles about big name free agents remaining free agents around year three of the MLB 11: The Show franchise mode, there is in fact a fix for this glitch.
When I first heard of it and heard that it was present in last year's game, I was a little taken aback. I had never seen this before. Was my game clean? No; what I did was turn on ignore budgets. I did this initially just because a baseball team having a $60 million payroll consisting of all franchise costs was ridiculous unless you're the Pittsburgh Pirates or Florida Marlins plus I wanted to keep my mega teams in tact.
What having ignore budgets on does is let's teams spend past that arbitrary limit and keep their free agents in the fold. There are almost never any free agents of any high caliber in my franchises once the season starts. Granted many people like those budgets but in order to solve the free agency problem, you have to utilize the ignore budgets option.
Sony has said they're coming out with a patch to address this problem but until then, this is the best option out there. It keeps teams in tact and keeps the mode much more realistic. Sure the Marlins might have a $150 million payroll once and a while but it's worth it, in my opinion, to make that concession, which is a rare one to make, so guys like Tim Lincecum and Josh Hamilton are one teams.
There's no catch all fix that I can see as of now, but turning on the ignore budgets option on the initial setup page of franchise mode is the best one MLB 11: The Show franchise mode lovers have.
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