MLBits: Harper is Turning Down $300M Deals, No Extension for Scooter, NL Central Rotations, More

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MLBits: Harper is Turning Down $300M Deals, No Extension for Scooter, NL Central Rotations, More

Chicago Cubs

Two. Days.

We are only TWO DAYS away from the first Spring Training game of the 2019 season, as the Cubs plan to host the Brewers this Saturday at 2:05 CT. We won’t be able to watch that game, but the audio will be available on 670 The Score … which is something! And there’ll be a box score! I love box scores!

In case you’re wondering, it’ll be a full week until we get a televised Spring Training game, but at least it’ll be a rematch of this Saturday’s matchup against the Brewers at Sloan Park. That’s a great way to open things up in 2019, given the way things ende…. *trails off*

Here’s some news from around the league …

  • According to Scott Boras Jon Heyman, Bryce Harper has already turned down multiple $300M+ offers in recent weeks, which, hey … that must’ve been a fun few weeks, right? I can’t even imagine what it feels like to turn down $300M, whether you’re worth more or not.
  • But while that’s not something I would’ve believed a few days ago, I am slightly more inclined to do so now that Manny Machado got a straight-forward $300M deal over ten years from the Padres. Heyman continued to suggest that “at least” five teams are still in contact with Harper, including Philly, San Francisco, Washington, San Diego, and the White Sox.
  • HOWEVA, I think you can probably go ahead and count the Padres out (not only do I not think they’ll go after Harper with Machado in the fold for obvious reasons, I think they might actually be unable to given their debt-payment restrictions. They already re-financed once to free up some cash, but in a way, they might not be able to spend even if they wanted to).
  • As it turns out, the Nationals might be out, too. According to Jamal Collier, that $300M Nationals offer Harper turned down back in September had as much as $100M(!) in deferred dollars! We knew there’d be some deferrals, because the Nationals always do that, but none of us were thinking it was THAT much. Just look at the potential impact:

  • Keep in mind that Machado’s deal is a straight 10/$300M, with no deferred money – that means the Nationals were offering as much as $40-50M less than Machado received (depending on how it was structured). With that in mind, Collier, who’s quite good on Nats stuff, suggests that it would take a major turn around to get a reunion in Washington, which feels right to me.
  • So if you can mostly count out the Padres and the Nationals – and assume the White Sox won’t do what it takes to get Harper, when they didn’t do what it took to get their preferred target, Machado – you might say this is a two-horse race between the Giants and the Phillies. The Giants still feel like a less-well-fitting landing spot, which leaves us back where we started … the Phillies. We’ve been guessing the Phillies for a long time. No reason to change now.
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  • Regarding Machado’s process, just a little more background:

  • I think Lozano did a really amazing job getting Machado that contract. Remember, it’s currently the largest free agent contract in the history of (American?) sports.
  • Josh Harrison’s one-year, $2M with the Tigers is not the largest contract in the history of American sports, but it is a big league contract that comes with the expectation of a starting gig at second base in Detroit. Good for him to at least get a big league deal, which is apparently a stretch at this point.
  • The Reds made a lot of pretty interesting trades this offseason, clearly with eyes on competing in 2019, specifically. Why do I say that? Well, Joey Votto isn’t getting any younger (and is basically crucial to any competitive hopes of theirs *right now*) and guys like Yasiel Puig and Scooter Gennett are free agents at the end of this season. So based on their moves and existing roster, it was easy to figure out what they had planned for 2019 (to contend), but not what they expected to be in 2020 and beyond. Well, perhaps we just got a little insight into that. According to 28-year-old All-Star Scooter Gennett, himself, the Reds are not interested in an extension. Or, at least, haven’t shown any return interest, so far: “We’ve definitely opened it up,” Gennett said. “They know I want to play here ….”(We’ve) heard absolutely nothing. Zero.”
  • Does that mean the Reds see 2019 as a one-and-done sort of see-what-happens year, then we’ll figure it out for the future? Or does it mean they simply don’t want to be tied to Gennett, specifically, long-term?
  • Cardinals stud righty Alex Reyes faced live hitters yesterday and it went well. Bully for them. So much of the Cardinals success lies on the shoulders of their rotation, which could be very good, but also has a lot of questions: Will Reyes finally contribute as a starter for a full year? Will Carlos Martinez contribute out of the rotation at all? Can Miles Mikolas repeat his huge 2018 success? Is Adam Wainwright going to be a factor? Will Jack Flaherty continue to break out? Etc.
  • Speaking of NL Central rotation news, Jimmy Nelson is apparently on-pace to make a long-awaited return in 2019. He was expected to return in the middle of last season (shoulder), but it never quite came together. He can be a big factor for the Brewers, so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Wow: I didn’t know this, but apparently Dee Gordon’s mom was shot and killed by her boyfriend when Gordon was just 7 years old. Gordon clearly carries a lot with him, and has a horribly unique perspective on domestic violence:

  • Pulling for Danny Farquhar:

  • Good for this girl x10000000:

  • I just love everything about that – her self-awareness, her position on the matter, her courage. Really, way to go.
  • This is pretty surprising, but encouraging:

Author: Michael Cerami

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