We’re just weeks from Chicago Cubs pitchers and catchers reporting to camp, and some of the biggest free agents on the market remain unsigned.
The offseason free agent market has been dominated by talk of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado and for good reason. However, there are a few other guys out there who could improve a club just as much if they provide the right fit. Clubs who are currently serious contenders (say, the Chicago Cubs) or even teams on the cusp of contending who are one piece away may end up “winning the offseason” if they snag one of these guys late in the offseason on a team-friendly deal.
Of course, for the players, they’re not thinking team-friendly contracts. They’ve played their entire careers to get to this moment and will undoubtedly want to capitalize. It remains to be seen if clubs will even offer Harper or Machado the reported 10-year deals they seek.
It also remains to be seen if the other top free agents will be able to get multi-year deals, as many free agents the past two years have struggled to get more than one year. With a stagnant market where every club is seemingly afraid or unwilling to eclipse the luxury tax thresholds, will a few lucky teams take advantage of shorter term club-friendly deals?
Will the Cubs, supposedly handicapped by a budget and mired in free agent limbo, be players for any of the top guys still on the market, even on a shorter term or below market value deal? Let’s break down the possibilities and where the top five free agents left in 2019 will wind up, starting with Manny Machado.