The Free Agent Sweepstakes

Sophia Vlahakis

There are less than two weeks until Spring Training starts and a few days until pitchers and catchers are expected to report to Florida. Yet, the two biggest free agents of the offseason remain without a team; Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.

Manny Machado reportedly was looking for a $300-million dollar deal but has not been getting the offers that he wanted. As the offseason started, it was speculated that he would become a Yankee. The widely circulated rumor was that the Yankees offered him $22o million for 7-8 years, though he reportedly turned this offer down. It is unknown if this was a formal offer or if negotiations are still continuing. Though with a payroll reportedly just below $200 million, Machado would have to settle for less money if he wanted to wear pinstripes next season. Another offer on the table Machado has so far refused has been from the Chicago White Sox. Chicago has reportedly offered an 8 year $250 million or a 7 year $175 million deal, but neither had been confirmed. The White Sox won 62 games in the 2018 season, and a player like Machado could possibly transform their team, whereas the Yankees won a 100 games and have arguably one of the best rosters with or without the former Dodger. Machado had a .297 BA and 37 home runs (11th most in the MLB) for the 2018 season. Other teams like the Phillies have expressed interest in the 2 time Gold Glove winner, though the Phillies are much more interested in Harper.

Harper has had more interest around the league and recently has been reported to have met with the Phillies, Giants, and Padres. The Phillies have invested a lot of interest in Harper but other teams seem to be challenging Philadelphia. The Giants are suspected to have the money to offer Harper a large deal. The Nationals (Harper’s team who he became a free agent on) had offered Harper a ten year, $300 million deal in September, though he turned it down. There are also mystery teams in the mix. The 6 time all star’s 2018 season was good, but not his best. Harper had a batting average of .249, whereas in 2017 it was .319. So while Bryce Harper is still one of the best players in the MLB and it probably would not hurt to have him on the roster, he may not be getting what he wants because of his performance in 2018. It could have been a slump year, but it also could be a reflection of what is to come and whether or not the 26-year-old can match his past success.

In the upcoming weeks, Harper and Machado are going to have to reach a decision as teams finalize their rosters and head to Spring Training. Machado had said in December that he would make an announcement in January but obviously, that has yet to come. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Machado and Harper are waiting for the other to sign. Each is still in search for at least a $300 million offer and neither wants to be the first to settle. Harper and Machado each want to go into the season with the largest contract and clubs are trying to avoid a bidding war in order to not have to spend more than they have to. It has undoubtedly been a long, complex process. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have been the focal point of the MLB since before the off-season and this waiting game will ultimately come down to what the players prioritize, where they play or how much money they are making.

Image result for manny machado bryce harper