Today, the news was broken that coveted free agent Manny Machado agreed to a mega deal with the San Diego Padres. Per reports, the deal is for $300 million over 10 years, which makes this the largest contract in American sports history.
One of the two biggest fish in free agency has finally been fried, and now fellow superstar Bryce Harper waits in the weeds. Now that the former Orioles and Dodgers infielder has made his decision to stay put in Southern California, what does this mean for the rest of baseball?
San Diego Padres
With the addition of Manny Machado, the Padres’ outlook for the season improved slightly to a projected 69 wins in 2019, per Fangraphs. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given San Diego’s talented yet young roster which features other big names like Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, and top prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr. Although they may not be projected to win mightily just yet, a left side of the infield featuring Machado and Tatis, Jr. may compete to be one of the best in baseball in the coming years.
After splurging $300 million, one would think that the signing of Machado would mean the Padres are done making moves. However, it sounds like GM A.J. Preller is still licking his chops at the idea of bringing in slugger Bryce Harper to round out his roster. Should they find a way to reel in Harper, the Padres would feature four all-stars under the age of 30 (Hosmer, Myers, Machado, and Harper).
This was a major blow to Philadelphia, who was aggressively targeting Machado to fill their gap at 3B. All hope is not yet lost for Phillies fans, but it feels like it’s now Harper or bust now in Philadelphia.
Whether or not the Phillies can steal Harper away from their NL East rivals in D.C., they have had one of best winters in baseball with the acquisitions of high-level players like C J.T. Realmuto, INF Jean Segura, OF Andrew McCutchen, and RP David Robertson. However, despite having one of the most improved rosters, Philadelphia would be greatly disappointed to miss on both Machado and Harper with what their GM calls all their “stupid money”.
Chicago White Sox
Considering the White Sox are seen as unlikely to land Harper, swinging and missing on Machado hurts. They signed his close friend and training partner Jon Jay. They offered him $275 million over 8 years, which would’ve netted the 26-year-old infielder a higher AAV than his deal with San Diego. Hell, they even brought in his brother-in-law Yonder Alonso. And yet, they got spurned in the end. The lesson here: no guarantees at Guaranteed Rate Field (I’m so sorry for that one).
The Las Vegas phenom should only benefit from the Machado signing. Now that the infielder has finalized his choice and netting the largest contract in American sports history, Harper’s bar is finally set. Whether it’s Philadelphia, San Diego, New York, or elsewhere; Bryce Harper is going to set the new record for biggest sports contract in the United States. Yes, more than A-Rod, more than Stanton, and more than Machado. Now that this biggest hurdle has been overcome, the snowball will begin picking up for Harper in the coming days. With Machado set and Spring Training underway, expect big news around Harper soon.
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