Boston, MA– For the majority of the MLB off-season, there were two major topics that kept fans buzzing during the cold winter that depressingly lacks baseball. For one, many baseball fans and experts were keen to discuss the fact that the Boston Red Sox were 2018 World Series champions and would be looking to repeat. (Okay, fair enough, this topic may have been more relevant to the Boston baseball off-season scene.) For the other, the issue of free agency became a hot button issue throughout the world of baseball as there were many standstills for the 2018-19 free agent class, with many of the top names remaining without a team for the vast majority of the off-season.
Two of the biggest names, Bryce Harper, formerly of the Washington Nationals, and Manny Machado, formerly of the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers, would not sign with teams, citing that the contracts were not up to par for them. In the past month, though, as pitchers and catchers and teams as a whole began to report to spring training, the pair of young guns eventually settled down. Machado inked a ten-year, $300 million dollar deal with the San Diego Padres and Harper decided on a record thirteen-year contract that is worth $330 million dollars. They definitely got paid.
While both Harper and Machado joined National League teams with middling post-season aspirations (meaning they will present little competition to the Red Sox for the foreseeable future), there is still a major impact on Boston and other American League teams.
For one, it makes Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel the biggest name on the market. Sources report that Kimbrel is still far from a deal with any team, let alone Boston, and has considered sitting out the year if he is not offered a contract he deems fair. Hopefully, Boston is able to reach an agreement with Kimbrel soon.
The long-lasting impact of the Machado and Harper signings may be bigger payouts for others. The contracts for these two were so huge that one cannot help but think of impending contracts for even bigger free agents looming in upcoming off-seasons, including Anaheim's Mike Trout and Boston's own reigning MVP, Mookie Betts. The Angels reportedly are prepared to offer Trout $350 million and Boston might be gearing up to offer Mookie a number even larger than what Harper received. He deserves it, too, especially when considering how Betts compared to Harper last year.
More free agents will arrive in the coming years, and Bryce Harper just set the bar extremely high.
Photos by Keith Allison via Flickr
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