So, what's the latest news on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado?
In my poll at right, I thought Bryce would be signed by Jan. 31. I was wrong on that. Now, I'm thinking everybody is wrong that he gets signed within a week, in the first half of February and before the mythical "pitchers and catchers report" time.
And, now, people are speculating about the possibility of a 1-year deal.
Supposedly, Harper still has eight teams doing some degree of tire kicking. Color me skeptical. The whole article is built on a tweet by Jon Heyman, widely regarded by baseball fans as a mouthpiece for Harper's agent, Scott Boras. And that's probably the case here.
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) February 4, 2019Cards I know are out. Braves never in. Angels? Quite unlikely. Astros surely out if they won't pay Marwin Gonzales. Jays who just waived Tulo and ate his contract? No.
As I was working on this piece, I would have agreed on Bowden's assessment of the Giants, too. But, MLB Trade Rumors says they're now in.
Unless the Yankees are one of the four new mystery teams, they have never been considered a suitor for Harper. But, Aaron Judge has now said he'd move positions to make outfield room for Harper. But, actual and potential Yankee OFs include Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, the oft-injured Jacoby Ellsbury and Giancarlo Stanton as well as Judge. So, I still don't see them going there. And, in terms of lux tax, right now, Cot's lists their contracts at $180M. That allows a fair leeway to stay below the $206M first tier tax. But, not too much. Add in total 40-man roster and other things, and they'll go over $190M. But, they'll likely stay below the first cut and still surely stay below the second cut at $226M. That's the biggie. The Yankees got off the schneid last year and probably would be OK with a one-year, first-level return. But, signing Harper would put them over the first tier for sure and almost certainly guarantee they stayed over the first tier, at least, and pay repeater penalties, in 2020.
Also, if the Giants are "in," does that mean the Boras "ask" has dropped?
I'm now ready to offer 50-50 odds that Harper remains unsigned until the second half of the month. I'll offer 3-2 odds Machado signs before then, and 3-5 odds that both stay unsigned until the second half of the month.
Remember that Boras doesn't always win, even when he waits and waits and waits. Just last year, he did get a win with J.D. Martinez, but not with Jake Arrieta. Or Mike Moustakas. (Who sits and waits again this year after his one-year contract a year ago.) Or Greg Holland, who has now inked a new deal, but with a considerable haircut — and much earlier than a year ago.
As noted, Boras has had his share of "losses" before. Just never one potentially this big.
Dan Lozano has had his share of "losses," too. We know Lozano fell short of his agent grand slam hopes with Albert Pujols and passing the contract of Alex Rodriguez for biggest contract ever.