February 20, 2019
The Padres signed Manny Machado for $300 million over 10 years yesterday and all hell broke loose in Philadelphia. Well, on twitter at least.
The signing set a price, more or less, for Bryce Harper — something north of $300 million — a price that many expected the Phillies to be comfortable with during the four months leading up to this moment. Fans are getting nervous. The Phillies organization could be getting desperate. And then Matt Klentak dropped a somewhat cryptic bomb:
#Phillies GM Matt Klentak, on Manny Machado's $300 million deal: "We had a pretty good idea of where this thing was going. ... If the reports are true, then this contract will exceed our valuation and sometimes you have to be willing to walk away."— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) February 19, 2019
Remember when the team was willing to spend stupid money? It will take stupid money to get Harper in red pinstripes. Klentak says the Phils are willing to walk away. Where did that come from?
Many are suggesting it will take somewhere near $345 million to get Harper and his agent Scott Boras to stop shopping. Many more are saying that the Phillies absolutely, positively must do whatever it takes to get the right fielder to Citizens Bank Park. Here's more from Klentak:
There seems to be some kind of back up plan formulating. Perhaps the Phillies are planning to take their Harper money and spend it on other top free agents like Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel — bolstering their pitching instead of their offense.
Maybe they actually do plan on being patient, and making a play for hometown hero Mike Trout when he finally becomes a free agent.
Maybe Klentak and the front office staff are scared out of their minds of a team like the Giants stepping up like the Padres did for Machado and taking Harper off the table.
And maybe, just maybe, the team is going to try and be overly responsible with John Middleton's cash — even if it causes the entire Delaware Valley to groan disapprovingly.
At this point, baseball fans have just as little solid information as they did prior to Machado's signing. There's really no way to tell if this got baseball closer to learning where its likely highest paid player ever will be playing, but we do know what his asking price will probably be. And we know the Padres are no longer interested. Or maybe they still are. There have been conflicting reports.
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