Latest LOL Report: Harper/Machado Saga Won't Resolve For Another MONTH

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Latest LOL Report: Harper/Machado Saga Won’t Resolve For Another MONTH

Chicago Cubs

After a few big free agents signed just before and after the Winter Meetings, I was confident that this offseason wasn’t going to drag out the way it did last winter, and that, while the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sagas may trail late into January (as big-time free agent deals sometimes do), they’d both be wrapped up before February. Of course, right?

Well, it’s not just February, it’s mid-February. Pitchers and catchers have already reported and Spring Training has begun.

Harper and Machado both remain team-less. I have some crow to eat, no doubt about that.

But here’s the thing … even after I came to terms to what this offseason has become, I don’t think I quite expected to see a report like this right now:

Good Lord.

Chris Shearn is a YES Network reporter, and although I don’t have much experience with his reporting in the past, I think it’s fair to believe this rumor at least as much as any other credible rumor-monger out there (particularly with respect to Machado, given his interactions with the Yankees this offseason).

But this all makes us wonder … just what the heck are teams waiting for? At this point, budgets are set. You know what you can spend, so what’s going to change between now and the regular season? Is someone waiting for someone else to blink? Will it take a major Spring Training injury for someone to change their mind? Or are teams really just hoping this trends into desperation territory (good luck with that on Scott Boras and Bryce Harper, by the way)? I guess that’s all possible, but this is all just such unusual territory for free agents of this stature.

Indeed, the historians might remind us that J.D. Martinez didn’t sign his big $110M deal with the Red Sox until all the way on February 26th. But the more accurate historians will point out that he had long been (basically) Red Sox or bust by this point in the year. And perhaps more importantly, despite how good he was in 2018, Martinez wasn’t anywhere CLOSE to the level of free agent Harper and Machado are right now (in terms of age, expected impact, and earning potential).

Harper, meanwhile, is still theoretically being courted by (or is it courting?) the Nationals, Phillies, White Sox, Giants, Padres, and then possibly the Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs, I guess (I mean, obviously those last three come with big question marks (the Cubs are pretty much out)). Machado’s market may be more slightly defined around the edges (it’s really just White Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Padres at this point), but that’s still a ridiculous number of teams involved in mid-February on one of the biggest free agents in years.

I don’t know when this madness is going to end, but if Shearn’s report is correct, it could still be a while.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami