In the end, after weeks of dismay and grumbling and a prominent player suggesting freezing free agents could lead to a mid-season player strike, Manny Machado was awarded a contract equal to the forecasts announced early in the season. the off-season: 10 years and 300 million dollars.
The fact that the agreement is reached with the San Diego Padres is not a surprise for now, given the various reports and rumors of the last three months. Although it is not the record contract that agent Dan Lozano could have desired – Giancarlo Stanton has signed a 13-year extension for $ 325 million with the Marlins after the 2014 season – this is the most important free agency contract in the history of American sport.
Can Bryce Harper beat?
Manny Machado will head to the Padres on the richest contract ever signed by a free agent. Here's what you need to do with the $ 300 million contract. Winners and losers
• Doolittle: Why does the agreement make sense
• Right: Machado accelerates Padres
• & nbspSchoenfield: Benefits for Bryce, baseball
• & nbspImpact fantastic | Machado chronology
With Machado on the big dashboard of the free agency, Harper now holds the cards. Teams that wanted Machado or Harper now have only one option left. The reports suggest that Lozano and Scott Boras were a bit in the running, waiting for the other player to score first goal, which would then push the excluded teams – we mean, Philadelphia Phillies – to a higher bid and more desperate.
Of course, one of the $ 300 million teams is now out of the board – it seems inconceivable that a team spends $ 600 million for two free agents in a dead season – so at least Harper has one less. the team calling on his services only Machado.
But it only takes one.
Let's look at the potential spinoffs of the Machado deal …
The despair of the Phillies increases: The off season began with Phillies' Managing Partner, John Middleton, who said, "We are planning to spend money, and maybe even be a little stupid about it." They remain the only team publicly connected to Machado and Harper throughout the winter, although it's unclear whether they made a formal offer to Harper. Various reports have also suggested that the Phillies preferred Machado to Harper, considering that the third base was a bigger hole than the outer field, especially after the signature of the autonomous agent Andrew McCutchen for a three-year contract.
Matt Klentak, CEO of the Phillies, told the press when he heard about the Machado deal: "If the information is true, this contract will exceed our assessment, and you may have to be willing to withdraw. put our best foot forward and eventually signed with the Padres. "
So, what is their assessment of Harper?
What we do not know: does Harper want to play in Philadelphia? Leaving a successful team from the NL East where he spent his entire career and enjoying a level of comfort for another team from the NL East who did less well (though on an ascending period) would be a curious move especially if the Nationals are always interested in bringing it here. back (and offering a similar amount). But the Nationals have already spent a lot of money this season, including Patrick Corbin's $ 140 million deal, and they plan to have one of the best playing fields, even without Harper.
Are the giants serious about Harper ?: It's an aging team that has committed the worst offense among majors in 2018. Chase the Dodgers over the next five years already seems like a daunting task for new baseball operations president Farhan Zaidi. Now, he also faces a new Padres team made up of Machado and the top-rated farm operations of the majors. (And not to reject the Rockies after spending two places in a row.)
Note: Zaidi was part of the Dodgers receiving regime that never gave up a $ 100 million contract to a free agent led by Andrew Friedman. Is Zaidi in agreement with this line of thought? Does the need for a powerful hitter in the outside field – especially a 26-year-old at his peak – will cancel everything? The Giants are a team of big markets that has attracted three million fans nine consecutive seasons, but the number of spectators dropped last year to reach its lowest total since 2009 in a second season in a row. Friends of technology in the Bay Area may need a shiny new toy to keep them going to the recently renamed Oracle Park.
Once again, however, does Harper want to play in San Francisco and perhaps the most difficult course of major league circuits for a left-handed batter?
The Yankees do not really receive any of these types: It is not impossible to find a solution for Harper – he, Aaron Judge and Stanton may well have a time share in the corner match and DH spots – but Brian Cashman refused to answer questions about the Yankees' pursuit by both players. saying the other day, "I would strengthen my work, whether it's these two or others." Hmm.
The long-term vision of Padres outweighs that of the White Sox: Well, maybe it was just a matter of cold hard money, but the White Sox, like the Padres, had to sell Machado more in the future than in the present. . If this was an important factor, Machado chose the team with a slightly better current list and a much deeper farm system. On the other hand, he also chose the most difficult division team.
Would the White Sox be at stake for Harper? Most speculate that they can not imagine Jerry Reinsdorf reaching over $ 300 million for Harper. But he has Machado's brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, in the team.
Does all this amusing the Dodgers? The Dodgers pass the Machado / Harper contest, while the Padres, two hours south, catch one of the big stars. At least it makes the West of the NL much more interesting.
Will Harper win Machado's contract or Stanton's record ?: I am not convinced that it is certain to arrive, especially after reading Klentak's remarks on Machado. While Machado is tied to some character issues, Harper's performance on the ground has been more inconsistent. He did not have a great 2018, hitting .249 / .393 / .496 with a terrific defense that resulted in his WAR at only 1.3. Harper could have facilitated this whole process with a better season. You know that the analytics departments have analyzed the numbers to project Harper's behavior not only in 10 years, but even in the near future.
Harper has the power and a good eye on the plate. One of the concerns about his future is that he had a record loss and retirement rate of 31.4% (compared to 26.8% in 2017 and 23.1% in 2016). Maybe he was squeezing. He had a much better second period, reaching .300 / .434 / .538 and reducing his dropout rate to 28.6%. Bottom line: If the Phillies were unwilling to spend $ 300 million on Machado, are they willing to spend $ 300 million on Harper? And if they are not, what team will do it?
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Does this mean that all the kvetching on the signature slowdown of the free agent will mitigate? Probably not. At the Red Sox camp, informed of the deal with Machado, AL's acting player, Mookie Betts, said: "There are still many more players on the field, so that's all. is a bit hard to say.One of the best players of the match is still available. [referring to Craig Kimbrel], a young man who is also one of the best players, [referring to Harper]So it's hard to say if it's good, but I guess it's a step in the right direction. "
What does this deal mean for Betts, Nolan Arenado or Mike Trout? Arenado, a free agent after 2019, discusses a long-term extension with the Rockies.
"I do not think so [Machado] has too much effect on me. I'm not sure, "said Arenado at the Rocky Mountain camp. I just know that I'm happy that he signed. I think it's really good for baseball, a well-deserved contract. We need those guys who signed up and we need those guys playing ball. "
Betts and Trout are free agents after 2020. Betts was also wise about how the Machado deal could affect his future.
"I mean, I think we are different players, so obviously it will be another time," said Betts. "I do not want to talk about the free agency of anyone else – I just have to worry about mine."
At the start of the off-season, Harper and Machado could have been awarded contracts worth $ 400 million. That would never happen, with Harper having just had a difficult season and the character flaws Machado perceived. Arenado will probably not succeed either, because he will enter an independent agency at 28, against 26 for Machado and Harper.
Betts and Trout, though? Stay tuned, my friends. We could get that agreement of $ 400 million in two years.