Spring training is set to begin in less than two weeks, and all this season I’ll be answering questions every Friday in a baseball mailbag. This week is just an example of what the mailbag will look like, but you can now send your questions to [email protected] if you’re interested in a particular situation, you want a question answered, or you’re looking for fantasy baseball advice. These questions will be anonymous unless you really want your name to be attached. Let’s get started with some sample questions.
When and where will Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign?
Only a select few people seem to actually have a grip on the biggest two free agents: the agents, the teams that have made offers or exchanged ideas, and Harper and Machado themselves. It’s a bit peculiar that no money details have been leaked aside from Washington’s ten-year, $300 million offer to Harper at the end of last season (Machado leaks have not been confirmed, with his agent Dan Lozano disputing a reported seven-year, $175 million offer from the White Sox), which could indicate neither player is getting an offer close to what they thought they would.
Also, both agents might want the other player to sign first so that their client can then get the bigger deal. But on the flip side, with only a few teams thought to be involved for each player, leverage could be lost for the guy that signs last.
As for where each player will sign, there appears to be a clear limited market for them.
-Harper: Nationals, Phillies, Padres, White Sox, Giants
-Machado: White Sox, Phillies, Padres
There’s always the possibility of mystery teams—like the Yankees in particular for Harper—but it’ll likely come down to those squads. I have the teams listed in the order I believe have best chance of signing. However, it should be noted the Phillies can probably offer the most money to both Harper and Machado, so the fact that neither player has signed with them yet might not be a great sign.
Some things to note for Harper:
He is from Las Vegas and appears to prefer the West Coast to the East Coast. He was married in San Diego. And he loved the city of San Francisco as of a few years ago:
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) May 20, 2013
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) October 6, 2014
But an incumbent should not be counted out, especially in Harper’s case (Machado isn’t re-signing with the Dodgers) where he probably isn’t too thrilled with the offers he’s receiving.
My advice is to not think about when and where Harper and Machado will sign. Hopefully it’s soon, but the long wait will seem longer if you keep thinking about it and examining every rumor that comes out.
Thoughts on a universal DH?
I don’t like it. Justin Verlander makes a good point about American League pitchers having it tougher than National League pitchers:
At least if the DH is implemented in the NL all pitchers in baseball will be compared on an even playing field. Who would you rather face?! David Ortiz or me?!!? Lol
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) February 7, 2019
But many people prefer the style of play in the NL to the AL. Traditional fans of the NL would be in an uproar if their league was forced to have a designated hitter instead of the pitcher batting and the strategy that comes with it. Games with a DH are just less intriguing to me in later innings.
Do you have a darkhorse World Series contender?
Teams can become contenders out of nowhere in baseball, but a stacked league with a handful of teams with realistic 100-win potential makes it difficult to see any darkhorses making runs to a championship in 2019. Maybe the Mets, who have had a quietly solid offseason. If they sneak into the postseason, that starting pitching staff won’t be fun to face.
Top 25 fantasy baseball players for this season?
We’ll have fantasy baseball rankings after at least Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign, as ideally you won’t have your fantasy draft before then. If it gets too close to Opening Day (within maybe two or three weeks from it), rankings will be released without Harper/Machado signed.
Send your questions to [email protected], and questions will be answered every Friday in the baseball mailbag.