At this point, only four teams — The New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals — reportedly are pursuing either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.
Both Machado and Harper are generational talents, the types of players who rarely hit the free agency market. So, why aren’t more teams vying for their services?
At the start of the Major League Baseball offseason, many expected all-out arms races for the two superstars. Yet not only do both players remain unsigned, but neither player appears to be genuinely coveted by more than a few clubs.
And Jim Bowden of The Athletic finds that offensive.
In a column published Wednesday, Bowden ripped team after team for not doing what it takes to sign Harper or Machado. The longtime MLB reporter said an awful lot, but it’s the conclusion of his piece that was particularly stern.
“Who knows when players of this magnitude, at this point in their careers, will be available again?” Bowden wrote. “This is a rare opportunity. They are both there for the taking. It’s time for some owner, some president, some GM, some front office to step up, shock the baseball world and sign them Otherwise, for Machado, it looks like it will be the White Sox, Phillies or Yankees and, for Harper, the Nationals or Phillies. Essentially just four teams legitimately bidding for the game’s two best free agents.
“What a joke. What a disgrace.”
Yeesh. Tell ’em how you really feel, Jim.
So, where do we stand with both players?
Perhaps the Tampa Bay Rays will slide in at the last minute and sign both, if for no other reason than to help Bowden simmer down.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports Images