Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, June 29, 2018

The 2018 Free-Agent Class No Longer Looks Poised to Change Baseball - The Ringer

How much money will he get?

Harper, approaching his 26th birthday, has sandwiched two useful but far-from-spectacular seasons (2016 and 2018) around a productive but injury-curtailed 2017, and 2015 remains the sole season in which he reached five FanGraphs WAR. Subsequent analysis attached a caveat to that campaign too, revealing that Harper’s results had far exceeded the stats that his batted balls seemed to dictate. For years, fans and media members speculated that Harper would be bound for the Bronx, but midway through his walk year, the Yankees have four outfielders with higher WAR than his.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:05 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agents

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5702104)
Keuchel, who threw 232 innings with a sub-three FIP in 2015, has posted high-threes FIPs


Am I the only one who was annoyed by the way that was written with "three" spelled out rather than it being written as "sub-3.00"?
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:23 AM (#5702107)
The 2019 class could potentially have Sale, Arenado, and Goldschmidt.
   3. Zonk is Just the Right Amount of Wrought Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5702110)
I know Machado is having his best offensive season - but I'm rather surprised that in an article dinging potential FAs and their falling stars, there's no mention of his defense not looking like it's gonna work at SS.

FG has him last across the board - and last by quite bit, also across the board - on their SS leaderboard. BB-REF has him at -1.3 dWAR.

The bat will play anywhere, of course... but the fact that it looks like he probably shouldn't be at SS seems like it could cost him.

Unless folks want to take the route that he's got some SS rust to shake off.

Haven't seen him much at all, but does he look as bad the numbers say?

EDIT: Oops - skimmed past the "now seems stretched" phrase... but that seems to undersell it.
   4. bunyon Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5702115)
I assume the Nats training staff is drugging Harper's powerade. And not in an enhancing way, either.
   5. Zonk is Just the Right Amount of Wrought Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5702119)
Without the looming threat of a Papelbon, the fire is gone.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5702124)
I haven't seen Harper all that much this year, but just based on the highlights, it seems like his hair flips are down as well.
   7. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5702125)
Haven't seen him much at all, but does he look as bad the numbers say?


I haven't seen a lot of him but what I have seen, and this gets borne out by the numbers at FanGraphs, is about what you'd expect. The glove and the arm are still good but the range just isn't there.
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:49 AM (#5702127)
I'm just glad that Harper's gone so far in the tank that there'd be no possible excuse for the Yankees to offer him anything close to his asking price. Personally I hope he stays in Washington after signing a 10 year contract, and then picks up where he left off in 2016.
   9. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5702147)
I assume the Nats training staff is drugging Harper's powerade. And not in an enhancing way, either.


I actually picked him up on waivers about a month ago in my fantasy league. His availability is rather less astonishing to me now than it was then.
   10. DJS and the World of Tomorrow Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5702155)
Am I the only one who was annoyed by the way that was written with "three" spelled out rather than it being written as "sub-3.00"?

AP/Chicago encourage us to spell out whole numbers that are mixed with words, so the tendency is to go in that direction. I don't believe stylebooks address baseball numbers (though I haven't checked, oddly enough). There are some weird baseball things when it comes to expressing numbers, such as and ERA of three being 3.00 and not 3 and no zero before the decimal in batting average, slugging percentage, etc.
   11. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5702176)
Harper leading the NL in HR, 80 K to 60 BB (9 IBB), BABIP of .228 (career .315).

Strong chance he improves in the second half. Reversion to the mean.
   12. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:42 AM (#5702177)
FTA

The sport’s attention started turning to the 2018 confluence of free agents before the calendar turned to 2016. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan got the hype train rolling in a December 2015 article entitled, “Why the incredible Class of 2018 will change MLB as we know it.” Here’s how Passan teased the talent:


The free agent Class of 2018, as it stands, is a collection of players so good it seems impossible one market could absorb them all at once. Both MVPs from this season, Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson, will hit free agency after the 2018 season. So can the greatest pitcher of this generation, Clayton Kershaw, along with the current American League Cy Young winner (Dallas Keuchel), two of the finest arms in the big leagues (José Fernández and Matt Harvey) and the pitcher who just signed the biggest-money contract ever for a pitcher (David Price). [Emphasis mine]



This makes me sad.
   13. catomi01 Posted: June 29, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5702225)
What's the floor on a Harper deal if he ends the season with the same level of performance he's had so far this season? Where does that floor need to be for it to make sense for him to sign a 1 year deal and hope for a bounce back to get a super-mega deal after 2019?
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5702231)
What's the floor on a Harper deal if he ends the season with the same level of performance he's had so far this season?
He could still probably get a deal similar to the one JD Martinez got, in that hypothetical situation. Speaking of which, Martinez could opt out next offseason and join that list of players in #2.
   15. Karl from NY Posted: June 29, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5702258)
Am I the only one who was annoyed by the way that was written with "three" spelled out rather than it being written as "sub-3.00"?

I bet the author wrote "sub-3" and an overzealously style-guide-following editor changed the "3" to "three". The same keeps happening later in the article with "four WAR" which isn't how anyone who knows anything about sports stats would write it.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5702274)
Be forewarned that Farquar's '14 was far worse than four WAR, FWIW.

// please let this week end already //
   17. Walt Davis Posted: June 29, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5702369)
The Yanks made their decision last year when they traded for Stanton. It was never likely they'd add Harper to that mix. If it holds up all year, the emergence of Benintendi makes Harper to the Red Sox much less likely (could always move Betts back to CF I suppose). But he still fits well on the Cubs and Dodgers ... and surely the Angels want Trout, Harper and Pujols on one team!!

Machado's having the better season but may have the even more limited market among the rich teams if he can't play SS. Although that market expands a good bit if he's willing to move to 2B. Anyway, Yanks seem set at 2B and SS and their young 3B is having a nice year -- not that they wouldn't replace him with Machado in a second. Devers is still way too young to replace but a move to 2B may be warranted. The Cubs would have to move Bryant to the OF or trade away Baez or Russell (moving Machado to 2B) and the Dodgers have Seager and Turner.

None of those guys except maybe Bryant are as attractive as Machado in a strict baseball sense but the money and years will be massive and the upgrade maybe not worth the other machinations and downgrades.
   18. Batman Posted: June 29, 2018 at 05:42 PM (#5702371)
I read "The Ringer" as part of the headline, as in "The Free-Agent Class No Longer Looks Poised to Change Baseball - But You're Forgetting About The Ringer" meaning Mike Trout has a little-known clause that makes him available after this season.
   19. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 29, 2018 at 06:08 PM (#5702386)
I just did some comparisons of Christian Yelich and Harper. You could make an argument (I probably wouldn't, but you could make it) that Yelich is the better player now and in the next 3-5 years most likely. Yelich is on a 6 year 50 million deal with a 15 million dollar team option at the end. Harper is being projected to get 3-4 times that amount, no?

Harper appears to be one of the most over-rated players in the league at the moment. The reality of his overall career performance doesn't seem to align at all with the perception of it.
   20. dejarouehg Posted: June 29, 2018 at 07:21 PM (#5702410)
Harper appears to be one of the most over-rated players in the league at the moment. The reality of his overall career performance doesn't seem to align at all with the perception of it.


Precisely! The talk of him getting a $400M contract is being pushed by Amsinger and the Harper camp. I guess people think the last off-season was a fluke but I don't. There's only one player worth that type of money and he plays for the Angels.

Why would the Cubs want Harper? Unless he can pitch, he doesn't solve their problem. He just increases the conflict they'd have to deal with when Bryant becomes a FA.
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: June 29, 2018 at 09:19 PM (#5702474)
I keep arguing that the Cardinals will make a significant push for Machado, their new TV deal kicks in next year, which adds something like 30mil to their payroll. And the team has coveted Machado for three seasons already. I absolutely could see the Cardinals overpaying (and I'll support that signing) for Machado.
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: June 29, 2018 at 09:27 PM (#5702482)
Harper and Bryant being bros from Las Vegas adds to that intrigue
   23. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:31 PM (#5702516)
I just did some comparisons of Christian Yelich and Harper. You could make an argument (I probably wouldn't, but you could make it) that Yelich is the better player now and in the next 3-5 years most likely. Yelich is on a 6 year 50 million deal with a 15 million dollar team option at the end. Harper is being projected to get 3-4 times that amount, no?

Harper appears to be one of the most over-rated players in the league at the moment. The reality of his overall career performance doesn't seem to align at all with the perception of it.


It's an interesting thesis -- and I like both players which is why I have them both on my DMB team -- but ultimately I think it overlooks the major differences in the two players that bodes far better for Harper's projections:

1. Harper was a good hitter at ages 19-20, while Yelich - though he debuted young at 21 - wasn't even in the league. Players that hit as well as Harper did at 19-20 are Hall of Fame talents. Harper has shown nothing that would indicate he can't make the Hall. Already 27 WAR in his age 25 season.

2. Harper has had already had one monster season, and had a second season that would have been MVP quality but he got hurt.

3. Harper has power that Yelich can't touch. And he has the walks. And so in the years that his BABIP cooperates -- and especially in a flukey good BABIP year -- he has the potential to be a 10 WAR player. As has already happened once.

4. Harper's struggles this year are all BABIP related which seems like a fluke given that traditionally he's not had this trouble.

Harper has the power, the walks, and the ability to hit for average, and in some years all of those will be together to make him an MVP candidate with potentially an all-time great season. A year younger, which, while not a huge deal, is not insignificant. Higher upside. You can't get that in Yelich unless he has an unexpectedly high peak.

I'd give Harper the $400 million contract and not look back.
   24. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:34 PM (#5702518)
I actually came here to ask about Machado's defense. I see the topic's been discussed a bit above. -18 RField is really disappointing. But it's only 3 months.
   25. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 30, 2018 at 12:33 AM (#5702532)
Harper has the power, the walks, and the ability to hit for average, and in some years all of those will be together to make him an MVP candidate with potentially an all-time great season. A year younger, which, while not a huge deal, is not insignificant. Higher upside. You can't get that in Yelich unless he has an unexpectedly high peak.

I'd give Harper the $400 million contract and not look back.


You got me agreeing completely -- until that last line. There's a small, non zero chance that Bryce Harper really is a 2-3 WAR player. Adding to that, is his injury risk, which seams, at least as I can tell -- elevated. He is, as it's said, a finely tuned sports car. Reminds me somewhat of Adam Eaton that way, although obviously Bryce is another breed of athlete, even at the pinnacle of the profession.

Anyways, put some vesting options on the end, give him whatever he wants perks wise but try and keep it around 10 years 280-320 million. Honestly given his stochastic nature if might make more sense than usual to offer him an opt out from the Nats' perspective.

I actually came here to ask about Machado's defense. I see the topic's been discussed a bit above. -18 RField is really disappointing. But it's only 3 months.


Not sure why anybody would think otherise. An ACL tear is still an ACL tear, and Manny a) was never the most agile guy anyways before and b) hasn't played SS at a MLB level in years. He's a 3B and in 3-5 years he's a 1B. Great player though, helluva player. Am I crazy to say I'd prefer Manny over Harper? Probably. I just sanity checked myself on Fangraphs and yea, Harper has the edge but we'll see how it looks at the end of the year.
   26. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 30, 2018 at 01:39 AM (#5702538)
24. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:34 PM (#5702518)

I actually came here to ask about Machado's defense.

Looks like good defense to me. Not great defense. Some here have long-contended Machado's defense is overrated. : > )
   27. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 30, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5702579)
You got me agreeing completely -- until that last line. There's a small, non zero chance that Bryce Harper really is a 2-3 WAR player. Adding to that, is his injury risk, which seams, at least as I can tell -- elevated. He is, as it's said, a finely tuned sports car. Reminds me somewhat of Adam Eaton that way, although obviously Bryce is another breed of athlete, even at the pinnacle of the profession.


I threw the $400 million out there casually because it was referenced upthread; I actually haven't paid attention to what the top contracts have been lately.

Obviously if you have Trout on the market you pay him a lot more, but in a Troutless world Harper is near the top.

Setting current contract situation aside it would be an interesting exercise to list all of the players now who you'd pay more than Harper as a free agent. Taking them at their 2018 ages.

Obviously, magically releasing all players from their contracts at once would skew the market but I'm more talking about a general valuation -- which 10 players are the most valuable properties in MLB as of now, if you could have the rest of their careers?
   28. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 30, 2018 at 11:01 AM (#5702584)
He's a 3B and in 3-5 years he's a 1B.


The second half of this sentence is a significant stretch. And the idea that Machado was "never that agile" is . . . it's like you set out to say the opposite of the thing that's true.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: June 30, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5702631)
which 10 players are the most valuable properties in MLB as of now, if you could have the rest of their careers?
Off the top of my head, and I'm sure I'm missing somebody:

Lindor
Jose Ramirez
Betts
Harper
Trout
Altuve
Correa
Judge
Bryant
Arenado

(in no particular order)

I don't think a pitcher belongs in the top 10 right now, given the ages of the best SPs.
   30. DCA Posted: June 30, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5702661)
I'd say clear no to Judge. He's not that young, he doesn't play a premium position, and he's such an unusual profile that I don't have much confidence in his long-term projection.

Arenado is good but the park makes him seem better than he is. He's basically Eric Chavez in a better offensive environment. Doesn't mean he'll fall apart like Chavez but I don't think he's top 10.

I'd drop those two, and add Vlad Jr and Soto.
   31. DCA Posted: June 30, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5702664)
Harper has an argument to be out of the top 10 - mostly based on health. Others with an argument to be in are Acuna, Bregman, Gleyber, Machado.

Matt Chapman is obviously out, but I have a hard time drawing a line between him and Machado/Arenado. Albies could take a half step forward. My list, in order, which may change in 10 minutes, has Harper just out:

Trout
Ramirez
Betts
Lindor
Correa
Soto
Altuve
Vlad Jr
Bryant
Gleyber
   32. bfan Posted: June 30, 2018 at 06:35 PM (#5702799)
Almost halfway through the season and Albies is on pace for 93 extra-base hits. The dude is all of 20. He is getting national pub like he plays in Kansas City or something.
   33. bunyon Posted: June 30, 2018 at 06:43 PM (#5702804)
If Harper were from the DR, we'd all be saying he's two or three years older than listed.

I agree that a 19-20 year old who can hit the way he did is a HoF talent. But...geez, when he goes bad, he looks really bad. I get that his BABIP is way down and that will likely bounce back, but he pulls off terribly and just doesn't seem to have a clue.

Now, that could just be the way he hits and you only notice when he's 1 for 40 instead of 28 for 40. And he gets hurt.

I'm not saying he won't be great but he could get to HoF levels of WAR just because he started young. If he's going to be a superstar, he needs to get on with it.
   34. Cowboy Popup Posted: June 30, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5702805)
I don't think a pitcher belongs in the top 10 right now, given the ages of the best SPs.

I agree with your decision to not include a pitcher but I at least thought about Severino. I've only seen him pitch a couple times but he's young and athletic and he's got all the numbers you could ask for.
   35. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 30, 2018 at 06:48 PM (#5702807)
He's basically Eric Chavez in a better offensive environment. Doesn't mean he'll fall apart like Chavez but I don't think he's top 10.


That seems like an overbid, to me (and also maybe an underestimate of where Chavez ranked in the galaxy of stars in his heyday). If Arenado's as good a fielder as rWAR thinks he is, he's probably the third or fourth best player in the NL. He's 27, which could be in his favor -- he's unlikely to collapse anytime soon -- or against him -- at least three years of his best production is now in the past, and he's not likely to get any better. That said, a gold glove 3B who's never hurt and gives you a 130 OPS+ year-in, year-out is a good candidate for top 10 in the league, especially if you're not into rookies (Torres) or injury cases (Harper). He's a clear cut below Betts, Altuve and Lindor, who are a clear cut below Trout, but there are tiers even within a top 10.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Dock Ellis
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP 2018 2018 Nov 5 - The Trump dilemma hits the Boston Red Sox amid a wave of White House boycotts in sports
(2296 - 8:15pm, Nov 12)
Last: Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant

Hall of MeritMock 2018 Today’s Game Hall of Fame Ballot
(23 - 8:13pm, Nov 12)
Last: Where have you gone Brady Anderson?

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread (2018-19 season kickoff edition)
(2111 - 8:09pm, Nov 12)
Last: there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135

NewsblogReport: Nationals Ownership Rejected Bryce Harper Trade to Astros
(21 - 8:06pm, Nov 12)
Last: Adam Starblind

NewsblogOT - November* 2018 College Football thread
(162 - 8:06pm, Nov 12)
Last: Voodoo

NewsblogDodgers release Utley to facilitate retirement
(41 - 8:01pm, Nov 12)
Last: Srul Itza

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (November 2018)
(103 - 7:58pm, Nov 12)
Last: BDC

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (2018-19 season begins!)
(1189 - 7:26pm, Nov 12)
Last: Mefisto

NewsblogIt's not just the worst teams not spending money in baseball free agency — it's the richest, too
(41 - 7:02pm, Nov 12)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogJoe Mauer Retires After 15 Seasons
(57 - 4:43pm, Nov 12)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogOT Gaming: October 2015
(914 - 3:18pm, Nov 12)
Last: Zonk is Just the Right Amount of Wrought

NewsblogMLB owners expected to unanimously approve extension for Rob Manfred next week, report says
(14 - 2:44pm, Nov 12)
Last: shoewizard

Gonfalon CubsNow what?
(216 - 2:28pm, Nov 12)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogRed Sox: Bill James “is not an employee nor does he speak for the club”
(179 - 2:22pm, Nov 12)
Last: BDC

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-12-2018
(19 - 2:04pm, Nov 12)
Last: Kiko Sakata

Page rendered in 0.3877 seconds
46 querie(s) executed