Houston, we have liftoff. Manny Machado, one of the two biggies in this year's MLB free agent derby, has an "agreement in principle" with ...
That "mystery team" the San Diego Padres.
MLB Trade Rumors and other have the details. It's 10 years, $300 million, with one opt-out after five. (As of 2 p.m. Central, the biggest remaining detail to be ironed out was what sort of no-trade clause would be part of the deal.)
So, the Bryce Harper free agency derby carries on, presuming agent Scott Boras is still hunting something like 10/$350 and either one or two opt-outs.
And, surely, he is. This slugfest has in part been one between Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, and Harper's, Scott Boras.
Will the Nats up their in-season 2018 offer of 10/$300? Will the Phillies pony up? The White Sox, if they didn't want to meet the Machado offer by the Friars, are surely out. The Yankees have already indicated they're not in.
So, who else is?
See the poll at upper right or click the link to vote on when you think he signs a deal. Note that we've already gone past the first cut-off point I mentioned, and the second as well. Will Harper sign before March 1? (My odds are about 50-50 on that. Let's note that there's been no whispers of anybody so far topping what the Nats offered.)
Machado has much better WAR, and did not drop off majorly in fielding this last year. As I've noted before, Harper is half a WAR point behind Giancarlo Stanton. True, maybe he hits a peak that he's not yet reached, outside his seemingly flukish 10-WAR year.
I wouldn't hold my breath. Is Bryce possibly a 6 WAR player like Machado? Yes, but he's yet to regularly show that.
Also, Boras doesn't always win.
Not 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 got one year plus an option this year, and no more.) Or Greg Holland.
Ditto on Lozano. We know he fell short of his agent grand slam hopes with Albert Pujols, and occasionally manipulated the media in his chase of attempting to pass Alex Rodriguez for biggest contract ever.
So, Bryce's signing will depend as much on how desperate Boras is for a "win" as anything.
Is the money for Machado an overpay? No, not according to Fangraphs. (This sets aside the millionaires vs billionaires issue that that fans are overcharged.)
He's younger by far than A-Rod on his second contract. Younger than Pujols or Miguel Cabrera on their whoppers. Younger than Robinson Cano.