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MLB Free Agency: Where Does Bryce Harper and Others Land?

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Guest writer and avid sports fan, Daniel Perez, previews the 2019 MLB free agency market and where the marquee names may land.  This MLB free agency article was written on February 26, 2019.

Spring is in the air! Spring training represents the end of winter, the preface to nicer weather, and the annual setoff of America’s pastime. With the start of the MLB season about a month away, fans and players alike are excited to get the action started.

However, many players are facing a new cold reality. In what is becoming a trend, MLB free agency has been a slow burn. The open market in the leadup to spring training has been a snoozer.

Marquee free agents are still on the board. Owners and front offices are slow to commit, while some players are holding out for deals that make sense and others are just waiting for any deal to come across their plate.

It’s a trend that has been brewing. Last year we saw a group of players holding workouts during spring training, showcasing their abilities in hopes of getting offers. One of the prized free agents, J.D. Martinez didn’t sign with Boston until February 26 after months of negotiations.

As of this writing (February 27), over 40 free agents remain unsigned. That list includes high-profile notable players like superstar Bryce Harper, with rumors swirling tying him to the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manny Machado finally signed with the San Diego Padres a week ago, inking a mega $300 million contract. In most sports, players of the Machado and Harper caliber signing so close to the start of the season is unthinkable and usually get snapped up hours after the free agency period begins.

March is only a few days away and notable free agents remain available, including:

  • Bryce Harper
  • Craig Kimbrel
  • Dallas Keuchel
  • Adam Jones
  • Adrian Beltre
  • Gio Gonzalez
  • Logan Morrison
  • Adam Warren
  • Victor Martinez
  • Evan Gattis
  • Carlos Gomez

The players association has taken notice and various players have been vocal expressing their displeasure with the current state of affairs. It’s something that is sure to rear its ugly head as a major point of contention during the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations. The current deal expires in 2021. Hopefully, we’re not headed towards a work stoppage.

With team revenues at an all-time high, it begs the question. What is going on here? The stars seem to be getting the money. The ones getting squeezed seem to the middle tier. Take Mike Moustakas for example.

He hit a Kansas City record 38 home runs heading into his free agency year in 2017. He declined the Royals’ qualifying offer of $17.4 million and instead of landing a long-term deal he signed back with the Royals before the season started for the bargain price of $5.5 million.

Moustakas then got traded to the Milwaukee Brewers after smacking 28 home runs, and declined his $15 million option for 2019, then ends up signing a $7 million deal also with the Brewers.  Something is not adding up here.