1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Monday “Baseball’s New Reality-The Sky Is The Limit-Free Agency-Bryce Harper”
“Baseball’s New Reality-The Sky Is the Limit-Per Bryce Harper”
Harper’s Bizarre is officially over.
Baseball’s hostage situation is now over. A King’s Ransom has been paid.
Bryce Harper has been delivered to the Philadelphia Philies, ending the 118-day free agency siege that gripped baseball. Actually if was more like a 9-month standoff, from last spring till last week, till the player, his agent, and the team he chose got the deal done.
Baseball is rolling in dough and Harper is too, after landing a record 13-year, 330M-contract, leaving Washington, rejecting the Giants, and saying no to the Dodgers.
The top player got the top payday, as contracts continue to jump up on a year by year basis, now that baseball has become an 11B a year business.
So much for the union screaming the system was broken, and too many teams no longer cared about winning. All but two of the top free agents have signed. Baseball this past week spent 780M on four free-agent signings. Harper to Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado and more.
Still to come will be unsigned pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel.
Agent Scott Boras’ job is to get his client the best deal possible, whether that is max money, or the longest term, or the most desirable city. He did, and 330M figure blows by Giancarlo Stanton contract in Miami a couple of years ago.
You might not like the free agent system as it exists. You might now like the games the agents play. You might not like what happens to loyal fans and teams who develop then lose the players.
Harper though is a 6-time All Star. Yes a substandard (.249) average but he did power 34-homers and drove in 100 runs in what was a disappointing season for him, as compared to what he has done in the past in Washington.
Yes there may be some poor defensive metrics that people are looking at. And there has been some knee injury issues.
But in the big picture, this guy is a warrior, the face of the franchise, unfazed by the pressure of wanting to carry the flag, and he’s only 26, and good years are still ahead of him.
He goes to the Phillies, who are not yet a complete team. But he becomes the magnet for the next group of pending free agents next year, or those who might be dealt at the trading deadline.
He heads into Citizen Bank’s Park in Philly, where his career on base percentage is a best (.930). And in those tight confines, he might hit 50-home runs for the Phillies.
He had a career (.620) on base number at Dodgers Stadium. A paltry (.588) mark at ATT Park in San Francisco.
Harper won’t say it, but he was insulted by the Washington Nationals ‘take it-or-leave it offer’ of 10Y-300M, but now we find out 100M of it was in deferred money without interest, and paid out in installments that would have gone till he was age 60, king of a long term Bobby Bonilla payment plan.
He didn’t reply to the Lerner family offer for 6-weeks, and then Washington said there would be no upgrade at all. End of career in the District.
The Giants swooped in late with a (10Y-package-that might have been up to 325M). The Dodgers would not budge off (5Y) though the average salary would have been higher.
So now the big debate, matching Harper in Philly to Machado in San Diego>?.
Who has the bigger impact? Harper is still not surrounded by great players, though that pitching staff is growing in Philadelphia. Machado has a good lineup but a lot of unproven arms on the staff.
Who will be under more pressure?
Based on the contract figures, definitely Harper, but his track record of being a fierce competition makes a difference. Machado has things to prove after what he said, how he played at the tail end of last year.
Of course the cities are different.
Harper was beloved, up till last Thursday in Washington. But in Philadelphia, there is lot of pressure. Machado in San Diego faces a lot less pressure, in a city that hasn’t had a winner in a decade.
There is private concern about style though. Machado is graceful and glides. Harper grinds, and private conversations say people worry he is such a violent swinger, that his Tiger Woods torque with his swing could lead to back problems.
Baltimore knew Manny was leaving. Washington feared Bryce would leave. Both fled for the dollars payments for sure, but that’s baseball business today.
Some think Washington mishandled all this. That they should have challenged him more rather than cater to him. His reputation took a hit last year. Manny put up staggering stats in a dreadful Orioles season, but never once complained.
Harper is street smart. He bet on himself, took a chance in free agency, and got paid.
Some will have problems with where he landed, he did sign with the enemy, the Phillies, so Nats fans will have the chance to boo him 19-times next season.
Despite the fact it took so long to get done, gee we miss the George Steinbrenner days of signing stars the minute the free agent window opened, this was an easy decision for Harper because it was a money grab.
Of course as he got the money, it’s going to get tougher for him going forward. Expectations will be in another solar system considering what he has become and what he is being paid.
1-thing not mentioned yet. They may love him right now in Philadelphia, but there better be no defensive lapses in the outfield, no loafing on the bases, no jaking it with nagging injuries, not for that price.
And then there is the intangible. It’s Phillies fans and its media..
You know, the City of Brotherly Love, where if you don’t win, they get on you big time.
Bryce Harper goes to Philadelphia for enormous money.
Remembering too, this is the city that booed Santa Claus.
Welcome to the rest of your life.