Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are both unrestricted free agents. Teams with a lot of money should think twice before hiring either of these players. One team, the Philadelphia Phillies, should stay far, far away.
Manny Machado doesn’t hustle. Saying he doesn’t hustle is an understatement. Phillies fans used to get on Jimmy Rollins for it but when the spotlight was bright, Rollins came through. Machado hit a ball against the wall, in the World Series, and settled for a single. Why? Because he didn’t break it out of the box thinking it was leaving the ballpark, but it didn’t. They tried to cover for him on Fox saying, “Look how bad he feels, you don’t have to say anything to him”. I disagree. Dave Roberts may not have said a word to him, but he should have, and Gabe Kapler would, which means Machado would be a hard to deal with player who the fans would certainly have a love-hate relationship with.
Bryce Harper could re-sign with the Washington Nationals. Harper is looking for $325-400 million and a long-term commitment. He was 34/100/.243 this season. After seven seasons he has 184 RBI and 521 RBI with a .279 career batting average. He’s been a Rookie of the Year, MVP and Hank Aaron award recipient. He can be abrasive and has gotten into it with his teammates.
He has five homers and 10 RBI with a .211 batting average in the postseason. He does hustle and he’s an excellent fielder. His clutch hitting is the $400 million dollar question. With the pitcher ahead in the count he hit .178. With two men on he hit .171. He did hit .290 with runners in scoring position with six homers and 61 RBI. Not bad. Is that enough to cash that big check?
Ryan Howard is the fastest player in MLB history to hit 200 home runs. He did it in 2,405 at-bats. Harper is at 3,306 and he’s 16 away. That wouldn’t even rank 6th, he’s still behind Babe Ruth, Ralph Kiner, Eddie Matthews, Mark McGwire, and Harmon Killebrew. So, you can’t even call him a legendary home run hitter.
At 26, he has age on his side. If I were the Phillies, I would let him pass them by and concentrate on trying to trade for Mike Trout (Trout has two years left on his deal at 34.1 million per year). That seems inevitable. He plays center field, something the Phillies desperately need. Odubel Herrera is wildly inconsistent. The Phillies will lose assets making this deal but in the long run, they would be a better team down the road. And they’d still have money to spend in free agency. Trout makes $36 million a year in endorsements and playing for his hometown team may mean he gives a slight discount.