Bryant, Longoria alarmed over slow free agent market
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[January 19, 2019]
With several of this winter's
top free agents, including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, still
unsigned less than a month before spring training begins, other
baseball stars are sounding off over the slow-moving process and
apparent lack of legitimate suitors.
A pair of prominent players publicly spoke out against the apparent
league-wide reluctance for many teams in today's analytical age to
pursue high-priced free agents.
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant expressed concern over the
fact that Machado and Harper -- both 26-year-olds with a combined 10
All-Star appearances and 61.2 WAR -- are still apparently waiting
for offers they cannot refuse, despite still four years away from
"It's really weird," Bryant said Friday at the Cubs' annual winter
fan event. "Two of the best players in the game, and they have very
little interest in them, from just what I hear. It's not good. It's
something that will have to change.
"I know a lot of the other players are pretty upset about it."
Another outspoken critic of baseball's recent reticence to hand out
blockbuster contracts was San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan
Longoria, who warned Friday in an Instagram post that the rank and
file may need to fight back soon against the modern strategy of
"We are less (than) a month from the start of spring and once again
some of our games biggest (stars) remain unsigned," Longoria wrote.
"Such a shame. It's seems every day now someone is making up a new
analytical tool to devalue players, especially free agents. As fans,
why should 'value' for your team even be a consideration? It's not
your money, it's money that players have worked their whole lives to
get to that level and be deserving of.
"Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the
field for their team. And as players we need to stand strong for
what we believe we are worth and continue to fight for the rights we
have fought for time and time again."
Only a handful of teams, most notably the Philadelphia Phillies and
Chicago White Sox, appear eager to spend big bucks for an A-list
addition such as Machado or Harper. Even big-market teams such as
the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs appear out of
the picture (for now) for the dynamic free agent duo.
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The holdup on Machado and Harper is causing a gridlock with the next
wave of available players, such as starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel,
closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder A.J. Pollock -- to name just a
"You work for that moment in your career," Bryant said. "You feel
like every team should want you. For them to not have that, it could
be disheartening for them. ... It's not about the greed. They've put
in the work to warrant contracts that are worthy of it."
Bryant questioned whether "not enough teams (are) trying to be
competitive" despite record revenues across the sport.
"There's a lot of teams out there that have the money to spend, but
they're not doing it," Bryant said. "It's very confusing to me. If I
was an owner, president or GM, I'd love to have Bryce Harper or
Manny Machado on my team."
The big question: Will something change before the issue becomes a
rallying cry for the players union before the next collective
bargaining agreement is up in 2021?
Phillies starting pitcher Jake Arrieta -- a free agent a year ago
who eventually accepted a three-year contract after reports of
hoping for much more -- recently posted a cryptic warning on Twitter
to baseball's younger generation.
"All of you 1-3 yr players out there better be paying attention to
what's going on in our game. You're next," Arrieta wrote.
--Field Level Media
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