We are just three weeks away from the first reporting dates of MLB players to spring training, yet some of the game’s biggest stars are still unsigned.
Among those are Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and this fact isn’t sitting well with other stars in the game, including Kris Bryant of the Cubs.
Bryant talked about Harper and Machado still being unsigned so close to the season during the Cubs’ annual winter fan convention.
“I look at Bryce and Manny as generational talents,” he said. “I feel like any owner would love them on their team, so it is a little weird to see only three or four teams really want them.
“It’s all yet to be seen. I hope they go out there and get what they want. I know Bryce — I don’t know if he’s gonna be here. I definitely don’t talk to him about it. He’s a good friend to me but I never bring it up to him because I want to be a good friend to him and not talk about baseball when he doesn’t want to talk about baseball.
“But whatever happens, I wish both of them the best.”
If Bryce Harper isn’t joining the Cubs, Kris Bryant wants to smash him every time they play! pic.twitter.com/T0dE72J9Em
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) January 18, 2019
Harper was offered a 10-year, $300 million contract to remain with the Washington Nationals at the end of last season, but he turned it down. He has received the most interest from the Philadelphia Phillies since then, but no figures on offers have been reported.
Machado has been connected to both the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Jon Heyman of Fancred and MLB Network says neither team has submitted an offer to him.
Bryant wondered why teams aren’t aggressively pursuing two players who are just 26 years old and multi-time All-Stars.
“There’s a lot of teams out there that have the money to spend, but they’re not doing it,” Bryant said. “It’s very confusing to me. If I was an owner, president or GM, I’d love to have Bryce Harper or Manny Machado on my team.”
The Cubs third baseman also likely has his own free agency in the back of his mind. Even though he won’t hit the open market until 2022, the cold reception his peers have received could affect Bryant as he approaches that time.
“You work for that moment in your career,” Bryant said. “You feel like every team should want you. For them to not have that, it could be disheartening for them. … It’s not about the greed. They’ve put in the work to warrant contracts that are worthy of it.”
Another All-Star third baseman spoke out on top stars being unsigned, although Evan Longoria of the San Francisco Giants was much more direct and pleaded for the players to not give in by accepting a lesser offer.
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We are less then a month from the start of spring and once again some of our games biggest starts remain unsigned. Such a shame. It’s seems every day now someone is making up a new analytical tool to devalue players, especially free agents. As fans, why should “value” for your team even be a consideration? It’s not your money, it’s money that players have worked their whole lives to get to that level and be deserving of. Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the field for their team. And as players we need to stand strong for what we believe we are worth and continue to fight for the rights we have fought for time and time again.
“Bottom line, fans should want the best players and product on the field for their team,” Longoria on Instagram. “And as players we need to stand strong for what we believe we are worth and continue to fight for the rights we have fought for time and time again.”
With two months before the first MLB regular season game, most expect the free agent activity to pick up quickly. But whether these players will get what they and others believe they deserve remains to be seen.
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