Well, here’s a fun Christmas gift for Phillies fans.
This is the kind of headline that should not make anyone panic. In fact, it’s the one we’ve known all along. When it comes to the high priced free agents - Bryce Harper and Manny Machado - we’ve probably always known in the back of our minds that Philadelphia would be the second choice for both. New York and Los Angeles will always be the preferred destinations for most free agents and rightfully so. They can offer things outside of baseball that Philadelphia just cannot.
This article, though, stems from a story from Joel Sherman, linked here. The main hypothesis of Sherman’s article is that both free agents, if they want to go to their preferred landing spots, need to decide for themselves if they want to take less money to do so.
So the Dodgers and Yankees could offer shorter deals for large annual values and force Harper/Machado to decide whether they want the long money or an all-but-guaranteed chance to win annually and another shot at free agency at, say, age 30 — younger, if outs are included.
In other words, if they want to go there, they’ll need to accept that those long term deals that agent Scott Boras is seeking for Harper will just not happen from either the Dodgers or the Yankees. If they’re fine with that, they will go there. If it is about the money, they’ll have to go somewhere else.
Where the Phillies enter this equation is the sentence that follows:
Word is neither player particularly likes Philadelphia and both would have preferred the Yankees, who have shown little interest in Harper.
And this is where we come in. This is an interesting quote for several reasons.
First, whether the verbiage is intentional or not, the choice of “would have” interests me. Is this indicative of the fact that the Yankees have told both players that they are only offering X amount of money for Y years and that both players have moved on? Is it a bit of “you’re reading too much into it”? Perhaps both. We’ve already heard Cashman come and basically say they aren’t bidding on Harper at all. They’ve met with Machado but the meeting was rather short. It’s totally possible that they have given their best, last offer to Machado and moved on to other business. Either way, it’s an interesting choice of words.
Second, we see again that neither player “particularly likes” Philadelphia, but they haven’t ruled it out. They can’t either because it is well known that they have the deepest (public) pockets this offseason. Saying they are straight up saying no to the Phillies would be lunacy, as no one else can or will offer the most money.
What this is completely about is this - it’s a blatant cash grab by Machado’s agent. Putting this out in the public eye incites fan bases, particularly one as rabid as Philadelphia, into putting public pressure on the organization to up their offer. It’s likely that the Phillies have made the best offer to Machado in terms of financial terms. However, with the agent floating out there some hemming and hawing on Machado’s part, he is trying to say to the Phillies, “Hey, you know we’re not that keen on Philadelphia.....but for a few million more, we could be swayed.” And that’s ok. If there is anything the Phillies have to offer, it’s money. If coming to Philadelphia means the team has to ante up a bit more money, that shouldn’t stop them at all.
This also shouldn’t dismay any Phillies fan out there. This is obviously a case of negotiating in public. Whether the agent is trying to get the Phillies to pay a little more or trying to get other teams more involved, it’s pretty obvious what is going. It might be getting a little old,
I’m over this. It’s taking the fun and excitement out of it.— Anthony Arot (@anthony_arot) December 27, 2018
but it’ll all be over soon.