Chicago Cubs: A future chance at Harper or Machado

Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs probably aren’t going to sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado this offseason. However, that doesn’t mean that all hope of one of them being a Chicago Cub one day in the future is gone forever.

It is becoming increasingly likely that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will sign short contracts or contracts with early and possibly multiple opt-outs. The Chicago Cubs may be in a better position to sign one of them in a few years.

Last offseason former Cub Jake Arrieta signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. His contract is a complicated one that could potentially be a five-year deal. However, there are multiple opt-outs and option years in his contract. Arrieta could be a free agent again as early as after the 2021 season. That would be just three years into the deal.

J.D. Martinez also signed a complicated five-year deal last offseason. His contract with the Red Sox features three consecutive opt-outs after each of 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons.

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Yu Darvish can opt out of his six year deal with the Cubs after this upcoming season. However, I suspect that after the last two slow off seasons and Darvish’s disappointing 2018 season that even if he pitches well this year there is a very low chance that he opts out of his contract with the Cubs.

Just because a player has an opt-out doesn’t mean that they will exercise it. Jason Heyward and David Price both declined from opting out of their contracts at the beginning of this offseason.

Sometimes even when a player uses an opt-out, it doesn’t mean that he leaves his team. Clayton Kershaw opted out of the final two years of his contract and then agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Dodgers.

However, the possibility of a player opting out and leaving his team for another is not just hypothetical. After the 2015 season, Zack Greinke opted out of his contract with the Dodgers to sign a six-year deal with the Diamondbacks.