Contract Crowdsourcing Results: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado

In October, we asked you what contracts you expected Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to sign. Months later, Harper and Machado are still looking for an employer, and so on Wednesday, we asked you about the contracts again. The idea was to see whether the community has lost a little faith in the agents or the market. Do you still see the same big contracts, or do you expect smaller terms? What have you made of all the recent reports?

As you all know, you are (probably) not Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Scott Boras, or Dan Lozano. This is just a fun exercise that means literally nothing in the end. But, it might not surprise you to learn that FanGraphs readers don’t see quite the same dollars anymore. After running the project again yesterday, we’ve received thousands of entries, so everything ought to be stabilized. The results are posted in the table below.

Contract Crowdsourcing Comparison
Player Month Avg Years Avg AAV Avg Total Median Years Median AAV Median Total
Bryce Harper October 9.1 $33.0 $300.1 10 $33 $330
Bryce Harper January 8.5 $31.3 $265.8 9 $31 $279
CHANGE -7% -5% -11% -10% -6% -15%
Manny Machado October 8.6 $31.7 $273.0 8 $32 $256
Manny Machado January 7.9 $29.7 $233.0 8 $30 $240
CHANGE -9% -6% -15% 0% -6% -6%

In words: The first time around, you all expected Harper to get an average of $300 million, with a $330-million median. Now those numbers have dropped to $266 million and $279 million, respectively. And the first time around, you all expected Machado to get an average of $273 million, with a $256-million median. Now those numbers have dropped to $233 million and $240 million, respectively. By and large, you still collectively think these two players are going to sign two of the biggest contracts in baseball history, but time has lowered the bar. You no longer think that Boras and Harper will be able to exceed Giancarlo Stanton’s $325-million guarantee.

Again, because we’re all on the outside looking in, we’re able to know only so much. We’re able to know only what different sources with different agendas want us to know. Yesterday, someone wanted us to know that the White Sox had an offer of $175 million out to Machado. Then Machado’s agent wanted us to know that, no, that’s absurd, that number is way off. Of course the White Sox are more interested than that. It should be obvious why Lozano felt compelled to issue the kind of statement he did, and we can never really tell when we’re being told the truth. Teams clam up now more than they ever have, so it only makes sense that most of what we ever see is coming from the player side. I don’t know why someone would’ve floated that $175-million rumor, but I’m sure there was some kind of motivation.

The hardest thing right now is probably figuring out who is even making up the market. The bigger the market, the bigger the contracts are likely to be in the end. We have a good sense that the Phillies want to sign one of these guys. On Machado, we are to understand the White Sox are involved. On Harper, we are to understand the Nationals at least *have* been involved. There was an offer of $300 million at the end of the season, but the Nationals have done a lot since then, most notably signing Patrick Corbin for $140 million. I can’t tell if the Nationals are out, or if it’s inevitable they ultimately present the high bid, not wanting to say goodbye to a franchise icon. Complicating matters is that Anthony Rendon is a year from free agency, and he’s expressed interest in remaining. I don’t know where the Nationals are today, and, beyond that, I don’t know if there’s anyone else involved for either player. It’s hard to believe there wouldn’t be, but no one’s been leaking.

Everyone wants a resolution. I can’t give you one. I don’t think you know much more now than you did before you clicked on this post. But a few minutes, at least, have elapsed. That matters, to some small extent, because Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are going to sign major-league contracts. They’ll sign those contracts somewhere within the next month and a half, I presume. Might happen today. Might happen in five weeks. It’s not just that we’re all waiting for more information. I think we’re also all just waiting to learn some actual truth. Everything out there now is strategic.

Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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5 years ago

John Jaso on this contract situation “It’s bizarre. Such is this game, and such is life” .