So the latest on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado … wait. I don’t have to do this anymore! The curse has been broken. Alert the church elders! I’m FREEEEEEEEEE!
Here’s some MLB news that would’ve otherwise been crushed by a Jon Heyman tweet about Harper’s love for cheesesteaks or whatever:
- Although it’s unclear if they actually proposed it, the Angels are reportedly considering offering a 10-year/$350M to Mike Trout and everyone is freaking out that it’s too low of an offer. Not me. Not entirely. At the highest level, this deal checks two important boxes: beating the total guarantee record set by Harper ($350M vs. $330M) and the average annual value record set by Zack Greinke ($35M/year vs. $34.4M). Relatedly, Trout is heading into his age-27 season and is still under control for 2019 (age 28) and 2020 (age 29). That means that this $350M extension (starting in 2021) wouldn’t begin until he’s 30 years old. Now, Trout is CLEARLY (x1000) the superior player to Harper, but he will be four full years/seasons older when he signs his deal and he’d still be blowing it out of the water. That matters.
- But perhaps most importantly (and unfortunately), we already KNOW teams have turned these decisions into nothing more than dollars and cents. So here’s a hard truth: Bryce Harper will probably make the Phillies WAY more money than Trout will make the Angels (now, in 2021, whatever). Harper is considerably more marketable (indeed, he seems to like it, while Trout, implicitly, does not). Especially because Harper was changing teams and that leaves a lot more room for new fans:
According to Fanatics, Bryce Harper broke the record for the best 24 hours of sales for a jersey launch for any player in any sport.
— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) March 3, 2019
- And it’s not just that, the Phillies had sold 200,000 fewer tickets by this time last year before the Harper signing, but managed to sell 180,000 in the TWO DAYS after the signing was announced. (Obviously, the counter-argument is that Trout could just hit free agency, which, yeah, sure, but he’ll have to wait two years for that, whereas he can presumably lock in 10/$350M for 2021-2030 right now).
- So that leaves me here: Even though Harper is four years younger and lot more marketable, Trout’s FIRST offer from the Angels (maybe they’ll increase it?) is for record dollars on both an annual and total deal basis. Is it fair (based on actual on-field production? No. Would Trout be paid a lot more if that’s all that counted? Yes. Would the Angels be complete FOOLS for not giving him just about whatever it took to keep him there? Yes. 100%. But I just don’t necessarily think this deal is as laughable as everyone seems to believe, given everything we know about the situation.
- But I will throw one more thing out there: Since Trout is *literally* in play to be the greatest baseball player that has ever lived, you can bet the Players Association is going to be pushing as hard as possible for the biggest possible contract. Why? Well, for the next decade – at least – that’ll be considered the upper bound on any deal for any player. Teams will be able to say: “Who do you think you are … Mike Trout?” any time a player asks for more. Anyway, Trout says he hasn’t even thought about the extension, so maybe this is all academic.
- Bummer: Salvador Perez, routinely considered among the game’s best catchers, is expected to get Tommy John surgery next week. He won’t be back until the 2020 season. At least the Royals are well-positioned to absorb the blow, which is to say they weren’t really trying to win games anyway.
- I don’t think this is a huge loss for the Brewers, but it’s worth noting, as Wahl was an upside reliever to add to the mix:
Bobby Wahl, who would have been part of the Brewers’ bullpen depth this season, has a torn ACL in his right knee. He’ll get a second opinion, but likely needs surgery. He’s probably out for the season.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 3, 2019
- The Nationals apparently need ownership approval to exceed the luxury tax threshold in a deal for Craig Kimbrel, whom they want to man the ninth inning next year. Kimbrel was originally seeking $100M over 6 years, but I just don’t see him getting anywhere near that amount now. The Nationals owner may still approve a big deal, though. That NL division out East is looking tough.
- Thanks to Manny Machado (10/$300M), Bryce Harper (13/$350), and Nolan Arenado (8/$260M), the players have scored a win in their war against the owners this offseason, according to Bleacher Report. However, I think the big leaguers being forced into minor league deals and the shorter term commitments for everyone else is a battle worth remembering.
- San Francisco Giants owner/President/CEO, Larry Baer, was caught on video in a physical altercation with his wife late last week and the Giants have held private discussions regarding what to do next. Apparently, they’re considering stripping him of any day-to-day control/responsibilities so that another official can run the club as he deals with the league and attendant fall out. For now, he’s taking a leave of absence:
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) March 4, 2019
- The Yankees think they’re going to break MLB’s home run record next season, even though they didn’t wind up with Harper or Machado (both of whom would’ve certainly helped that cause). I think they certainly have a shot at breaking the record, but if Chicago has the wind blowing in the right direction this summer, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras and company might just give them a run for their money.
- Yes, please and thanks:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 4, 2019
- The KBO was fun before MLB knew that we liked fun:
- Finally: Bleacher Nation has a new partnership with ESPN+. If you sign up for a FREE 7-day trial, you can support us in the process. And it has a lot to offer. In addition to live-streaming sports, including some games this Spring, ESPN+ gives you access to the full 30-for-30 catalog and full access to ESPN Insider (which I use all the time). There’s obviously a lot more to it than that, so consider checking out the free trial and seeing if you like it.