This winter will be huge for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, both of whom will become free agents at the end of the 2018 Major League Baseball season.
They won’t be the only players impacted by their next contracts, either, as the deals they sign will significantly impact the market, setting the bar for how comparable talent is valued in the coming years.
Mookie Betts is well aware of this reality. And although he isn’t slated to hit free agency until after the 2020 season, the Boston Red Sox right fielder plans to pay close attention to how things shake out this offseason.
“I’m definitely really curious to see how that will play out,” Betts said Monday during MLB All-Star week media availability, per The Boston Globe. “We’ll see the way it breaks. We all know what kind of player (Harper) is. I think that may affect some things going forward.”
Betts is making $10.5 million this season after winning an arbitration case over the offseason. He’s under contract for 2019 and 2020 and then will hit free agency barring an extension beforehand.
It’s obviously impossible to know where the market will stand leading up to the 2021 campaign, and several factors, including Betts’ continued production, ultimately will dictate his earning potential. But Harper (turning 26 in October) and Machado (just turned 26) are elite players in the midst of their primes, just like Betts (turning 26 in October), who’s having a career year. It’s no wonder the Red Sox star is thinking ahead a little bit as rumors swirl about the futures of Harper and Machado.
“I think things are kind of coming full circle now,” Betts said. “My peers are going through what is soon to come. Yeah, I’ll definitely be locked in to see what they get.”
The Red Sox almost certainly will be “locked in,” too.
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