The baseball world was sent into a frenzy on Tuesday afternoon as it was reported by multiple outlets that superstar infielder Manny Machado would be signing a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres.
Throughout the entire offseason, many fans and analysts wondered where Machado and Bryce Harper would sign and how much they would get on the free agent market. As we saw, Machado got the deal he was looking for, which will set the market for Harper.
Speaking of Harper, this blockbuster signing also affects the Philadelphia Phillies in their pursuit of the 26-year-old superstar. According to Andy Martino of SNY.tv, despite the Phillies’ serious interest in the outfielder, word is that Harper is unsure if he wants to play in Philadelphia.
However, CBS Sports HQ MLB Insider Jim Bowden reported over the weekend that there is a lot of momentum and traction with Harper heading to the Phillies.
If we take both reports with a grain of salt, then the Phillies will have to give “stupid money” to convince Harper to sign with them. Even though Machado cashed in on a $300 million contract, the biggest free agent contract in the history of North American sports, best believe, Harper’s agent Scott Boras is looking to top that amount.
As of right now, the largest active contract in baseball belongs to Giancarlo Stanton of New York Yankees. The 29-year-old Stanton signed a massive 13-year, $325 million contract with the Marlins back in Nov. 2014.
However, a month after he signed the deal, Stanton was traded to the Yankees. After Stanton, the next two largest contracts belong to Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers (8-yr/$248M) and Robinson Cano of the New York Mets (10-yr/$240M).
With all that being said, one could expect Boras to press the Phillies to give the superstar outfielder at least a 10-year deal worth $350M. Earlier this offseason, it was reported that the 26-year-old outfielder turned down a 10-year, $300 million contract extension on the final day of the 2018 regular season.
In addition to the financial ramifications of Machado’s deal in regards to Harper, it also solidifies what the Phillies will do at third base this season.
Over the last few months, we’ve heard that if the Phils signed Machado, then Maikel Franco could be traded. Last season, the 26-year-old third baseman had a bounce-back year at the plate, slashing .270/.314/.467 with 22 home runs and 68 RBIs.
Therefore, with Machado heading out to the west coast, the Phillies can continue to let Franco and Scott Kingery compete for time at the hot corner.
“We’ve got some really good options,” Phils general manager Matt Klentak said (h/t Todd Zolecki of MLB.com). “I think one of the things about Franco specifically that you’ve heard me say, and I’ll continue to say it, is that he’s still very young.”
“He’s still — from an aging curve perspective — he’s still on the ascent of his career. We saw that in flashes last year, where he was carrying a .900 OPS for a significant stretch of time. And having said that, we also know how strongly we believe in Scott Kingery with the contract we gave him and the reps we gave him last year and what he did this offseason with his work ethic. We think we have two really good options over there.”
It should be interesting to see what happens with Harper and if the Phillies decide to give the 26-year-old a godfather offer he cannot deny.