Manny Machado

At The Yard Podcast: Manny Machado's money, Scott Boras' next play, why Bryce Harper's the right guy for Phillies

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At The Yard Podcast: Manny Machado's money, Scott Boras' next play, why Bryce Harper's the right guy for Phillies

On this edition of At The Yard, Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discuss Manny Machado's record-breaking free-agent deal with the San Diego Padres. How disappointed are the Philles that they didn't land the superstar infielder?

Now all eyes turn to Bryce Harper. The guys give you the latest on that pursuit. Also, why there's added importance to making the splash this offseason as opposed to the future.

0:30 — Phillies didn't want to go to $300 million for Machado
5:00 — Machado not a great fit in Philadelphia?
9:00 — Did the Phillies really have a preference?
13:00 — Scott Boras' next play for Harper
16:00 — What if the Phillies miss out on Harper?
19:00 — Why Harper is the right guy even if he's imperfect

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Lessons and tidbits from the Manny Machado negotiations

Lessons and tidbits from the Manny Machado negotiations

It's reasonable to assume, given what we know about the Phillies' pursuit of Manny Machado and their unwillingness to go to $300 million to get him, that their best offer to him was in the mid-$200 millions over a slightly shorter term. 

Something in the $250 million range, perhaps higher, over seven or eight years — an enormous amount of money and also an average annual salary directly in line with what Machado will receive over 10 years from San Diego.

Such a deal would have netted Machado the highest per-year figure of any position player ever. In the end, he opted for the most guaranteed money and you can't blame him for doing so.

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the White Sox offered Machado eight years and $250 million with options and incentives that could have taken the deal to $350 million. Those options, per USA Today, were two vesting options worth $35 million apiece. 

You can see why Machado opted for the guaranteed money over the possibility of earning more through options and incentives. Those options would have obviously been at the very end of his deal, and it wouldn't have been overly likely that he'd reach them by playing or producing enough at ages 33 and 34. In other words, the $60 million guaranteed Machado will earn in Years 9 and 10 of his Padres deal will probably be more than he could've gotten after eight guaranteed years from another club.

You can't fault a team like the Phillies or White Sox for not matching 10 years and $300 million. "What's the difference between $250M and $300M," some might ask, but it's a huge difference. Especially when the $50 million difference in question would be paid during the player's age-35 and age-36 seasons, which don't figure to be great years. Players do not age gracefully in their mid-30s the way they did during the Steroid Era. It's a major reason why the multi-year deal has disappeared for veteran, non-star free agents.

Beware the mystery team

A few more interesting tidbits about the Machado negotiation process, from Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The Padres did not emerge as an actual suitor for Machado until mid-January. It's yet another cautionary tale of why the connections made publicly aren't always the most meaningful. Everything about Machado-the-Padre now feels and sounds right, yet at the beginning of the offseason not a single person predicted it.

It's why you should be hesitant to instantly dismiss the words "mystery team" as an agent's construct. A lot of times, teams linger in the periphery and will be willing to pounce if everything lines up.

When will Harper sign?

By all accounts, Bryce Harper and Scott Boras are seeking a long-term deal, a similar length to what Machado received. But if the $300 million-plus offers for Harper do not materialize because fewer teams are in on him, Harper and Boras could change course and go shorter, which would bring more teams back into the fold. The complexity of this all is why a Harper signing might not be imminent. (Sorry.)

This process could end 20 minutes from now with a phone call, but there's also reason to believe it will plod along. Boras will find a way to extract top dollar even in an altered market. He almost always does.

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Maikel Franco gets a reprieve, would welcome Bryce Harper as teammate

Maikel Franco gets a reprieve, would welcome Bryce Harper as teammate

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Anyone know a good real estate agent? Maikel Franco is sticking around Philadelphia for a while.

Franco’s uncertainty over where he’d be playing this season has come to an end. The San Diego Padres reportedly agreed to a deal with free agent Manny Machado on Tuesday. A day earlier, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Mike Moustakas.

Machado had been the apple of the Phillies’ eye this winter (see story) and Moustakas was considered a potential fallback option.

Two third basemen off the market in two days.

Franco stays.

Relieved?

“Yeah,” he said. “I know now I’m here. I know that the organization is giving me an opportunity to be here and just do what I do better, and that's pretty much what I think about it right now.

“I want to be part of the organization with Philadelphia. I don't want to live anywhere else. I want to stay here, have fun and have fun with my guys. I just want to come in and do my job.”

Franco, 26, gets another chance to do what he’s been unable to do the last few seasons: Convince the front office he is their man at third base. Twice last season, the team appeared to be phasing Franco out of the picture. An injury to J.P. Crawford put Franco back in the lineup in late June and he went on a two-month tear and ended up leading the team in hitting (.270) while finishing second in OPS (.780) and third in homers (22) in 2018.

Though manager Gabe Kapler has said Scott Kingery will compete with Franco for the third base job, it’s difficult to envision Franco not being the starter at the position simply because he does not profile as a utility man. Franco has talent. He just needs to show consistency.

“I think what’s happened has been interesting with Maikel Franco,” Kapler said. “We saw the kind of work he put in during the offseason. He came in to camp in much better condition. We told him that he’s competing for the third-base job. He’s taken that challenge. We’re continuing to say that that challenge is great for him and his development. I’m not sure that this changes his approach at all.”

Machado’s signing with San Diego puts the pressure on the Phillies to sign Bryce Harper and the two sides have been in discussions.

Kapler has been part of the recruitment process of both players. He was part of the welcoming party that visited with Machado in Philadelphia in December and also a member of the group that visited with Harper in Las Vegas in January.

Kapler was asked if it was disappointing not to land Machado after being so involved in the recruiting effort. 

“I’m totally focused on our camp,” he said. “My goal is to help our players get better every single day. We’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time committing to that. If I tell our players, don’t think about getting traded, don’t think about the free agents that we might acquire, think about this group as the most important part of your focus and if you take your eyes off that, you’re not going to be as good. What if I don’t practice that same mentality? My job is to show our players that my focus is on this camp.”

The Phillies can still land Harper. In fact, they are now under pressure to do so.

“I've said this from Day 1, any team that acquires Manny Machado or Bryce Harper gets immediately better,” Kapler said. “I wouldn't come off that for a moment. Any team that acquires Bryce Harper will get immediately better.”

Now that he knows he’s staying, Franco wouldn’t mind seeing Harper become a Phillie.

“Why not?” he said. “He's a good player. He hits over the years, 30 or more home runs and 100 or more RBIs. If he's coming, it's good to have him. Let's see what happens."

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