Neither Bryce Harper nor Manny Machado do his job as a pitcher or fisherman, so this week's milestone is imprecise but still significant. While the drummers go to Arizona and Florida in the coming days, to be followed by the rest of the shifts next week, the central mystery of this sad off-season baseball remains unsolved. Neither Harper nor Machado found a house for the 2019 season and neither seems particularly close to finding one.
The same can be said for the Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, for the seven-time All-Star closest to Craig Kimbrel, for the five-time all-star all-star Adam Jones, for two-time third-tier all-star Mike Moustakas and for dozens of other qualified major league players. However, Harper and Machado had to be different, the two-man tandem planned to dissolve the spending stoppage that has passed the sport in the last three years.
"Which team out there would not want a Bryce Harper, a Manny Machado or many free agents out there?" He told the San Francisco catcher Giants Buster Posey at the recent team's FanFest in San Francisco.
Harper, 26, was the most valuable player in the 2015 national league and is a six-time All-Star. Machado, 26, is a four-time All-Star who has hit 37 home runs in 2018 and can play in shorttop or third base.
The answer to Posey's question, it turns out, is the vast majority of the industry, at least not at the prices that players want and which the previous suggests deserves. Harper and Machado aimed to outperform the $ 325 million deal delivered to Giancarlo Stanton by the Miami Marlins in 2014. Nor could it reach that point.
Posey was asked about Harper because the giants met with Harper in Las Vegas last week. The meeting was leaked because Larry Baer, the CEO of the Giants, took a picture with a fan inside the Bellagio and "it's hard to deny when your CEO is placed in the casino "said Farhan Zaidi, president of the baseball operations team. And the meeting took place only because Harper had not been signed in February, which offered an opportunity to the wanted Zaidi and giants in his pocket.
San Francisco can afford Harper. The team spent a relative misery, about $ 8.5 million, on off-season off-season. This puts the giants in line with the vast majority of the industry. Only seven teams have spent more than $ 50 million for free agents from the big league: the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Washington Nationals, the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers.
Which raises the question: what is the rest of the sport doing?
The free agency is not the only way to improve a roster. The Cincinnati Reds have improved their team through traffics, acquiring Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers and exchanged a deal with the Yankees for the All-Star launcher Sonny Gray. The St. Louis Cardinals have conquered Arizona Diamondbacks' first base Paul Goldschmidt. While the Seattle Mariners broke down their roster, the Mets grabbed Edwin Diaz and second base Robinson Cano, and the Yankees increased their initial spin with James Paxton.
All those operations cost team resources in the form of perspectives. To sign a free agent, only money is needed. In 2013, the Red Sox have moved from a last place the year before to a championship after having signed seven free agents. This approach seems like a relic of another life, rather than a strategy adopted by a World Series winner this decade.
The concept of trying to spend to jump into a playoff contest has fallen out of favor with this generation of risk-averse and depth-conscious executives. So Zaidi focused on the lowest level of the 40-man roster in his first off season season with the Giants. The Mariners and Diamondbacks joined the Marlin in the ranks of teams selling crucial assets. The Chicago White Sox got engaged to Machado, but they did not persuade him to sign. The San Diego Padres continue to launch the jar along the way in their perpetual reconstruction.
Even for the teams with hopes of October, the free agency now serves as a vehicle to increase a roster instead of remodeling it. So Milwaukee signed the former Dodgers hunter Yasmani Grandal and for the rest he stopped. Similar models appeared with the Colorado and the infaned Daniel Murphy, Houston with the outfielder Michael Brantley and Atlanta with the third base Josh Donaldson.
None of these players received more than a two-year contract. The teams are willing to spend, but on their terms. The Yankees have flirted with Machado, while they still distribute about $ 140 million in the market to players like the legendary Zach Britton and the second baseman DJ LeMahieu. The Phillies signed a contract for the catcher of Marlins J.T. Realmuto last week, and they were engaged to Harper and Machado. But this did not stop him from signing outfielder Andrew McCutchen and trading for the shorts Jean Segura. The Dodgers opted for the AJ exterior. Pollock for $ 55 million instead of a nine-digit deal for Harper.
Fans of New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles can claim for the power of the stars. But at least their teams have made an effort to improve. More worrying is the behavior of the Chicago Cubs, who came out of the free market after a series of expensive misses. Jason Heyward was an offensive responsibility in the first three seasons of his eight-year contract, $ 184 million. Yu Darvish made eight starts in the first year of his $ 126 million six-year contract. And the availability of relief Brandon Morrow, signed the last offseason to be the closest team, is uncertain at the beginning of spring.
The opening of spring training usually serves as a metaphor for renewal. However, this year it will work more to remember that the two brightest lights on the free agent market have not yet found a job, and the sector is not exactly clamoring to change it.