Chicago Cubs: Plenty of impact talent coming to the market
One of the things that makes Harper and Machado’s current free agency such a big deal is that they are hitting the open market at the ripe age of 26. Like Trout, Arenado will be a free agent at age 29. That means that part of a Trout or Arenado contract would be paying for their declining years, namely the back half of their 30s.
Arenado is as good a defensive third baseman as Machado. But he is older than the former Baltimore and Los Angeles standout. When Arenado’s splits away from Coors are factored in, Machado is easily the better player offensively.
Trout is older than Harper and is a true center fielder for now. The seven-time All-Star has been a better and more consistent hitter than Harper, despite the hype surrounding the slugging 2015 NL MVP. Even Trout’s worst years so far have still been MVP-quality.
I’d still rather have Harper or Machado now than Arenado or even Trout in the future (sue me, okay). They are younger by a wide margin. Signing one of them will improve the team now. It will begin to help lengthen this competitive window. But if the Cubs don’t make a big addition this offseason there are other big free agents on the horizon.