So on 5 February the MLB Hot Stove news remains that there is no news. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, two of the best players in the Majors over the past 5-6 seasons, are still free agents among a whole group of other experienced Big Leaguers who will get a job at some point.
Commenting on negotiations from the outside, with few facts to rely on, is the name of the game at the moment. Are teams being cheap? Do the players have good offers on the table but are looking for even more? Every update published by the usual reliable sources give the impression that no one really knows for sure what’s going on with the two big stars.
The one thing that does perturb me a little reading some of the comments is the idea of looking towards future free agent classes. No bad idea in itself for teams, of course, but citing potential 2019/20 free agents such as Nolan Arenado, Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale as a reason not to invest in Harper and Machado rings hollow when this time last year the latter two were used as a reason for teams not to go after the top free agents then.
Will people be saying the same this time next year, looking ahead to the potential free agency of Mike Trout and Mookie Betts?
All of which does at least give the creatively minded, or those with an overactive imagination, scope to go to town on interpretations of random Tweets, such as Bryce Harper’s post-Superbowl classic.
What could it mean? Answers on a postcard …
My fellow A’s UK’ers were not really on the Harper bandwagon, it has to be said.
I tentatively endorse the sentiments, hesitating only because the Houston Astros have been rumoured as a potential landing spot. I will care where he goes in that case.
Teams officially start reporting to Spring Training on Sunday (the A’s leading the way due to the mid-March Japan series), with most teams beginning on the 12th.
Will Harper and Machado have a team by then?