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Top MLB Exec Says His Big-Market Team Doesn't Have Any More Money

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Baseball’s “Hot Stove League” has gone cold the past few seasons as owners are reluctant to dole out huge sums of money for baseball’s high-priced free agents.

This year, the two prizes of the free agent season, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, remained unsigned as spring training is already underway.

One of the teams that had been rumored to be in the market for one of the sluggers, the Chicago Cubs, gave a pretty simple answer as to why they aren’t in the market.

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“That’s a pretty easy question to answer,” Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said Monday, according to ESPN, when he was asked why the Cubs weren’t spending any money on Harper or Machado. “We don’t have any more.”

Money, that is.

The Cubs have money, of course. The franchise is worth some $3 billion and they have a payroll of about $208 million, according to CBS Sports.

More specifically, they don’t have the money to spend on players who are seeking upwards of 10-year, $400 million contracts.

Do you think Harper and Machado are asking too much?

“We’ve put our money back on the field,” Ricketts said, according to ESPN.

“Unfortunately, you just can’t have a high-profile free agent every single year. Part of that is how much it costs. Whatever the $25-30 million it’s going to cost, plus it’s a 10-year commitment. You have to pay those dollars.

“As much as I would love to have a great, new, exciting player, it just can’t happen every year,” Ricketts added.

The Cubs chairman denied that there’s any collusion going on among owners.

“I can say that’s not the case,” Ricketts said, according to ESPN.

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“I don’t think there is any collusion. I have no idea what’s going on with the free-agent market with respect to Harper and Machado, but I don’t think anyone is colluding with anyone.”

Last year, the Red Sox didn’t sign J.D. Martinez until Feb. 20, so the situation is certainly not unprecedented.

It appears, according to baseball insider Jon Heyman with Fancred, that interest in Harper and Machado is intensifying among several teams, including the Phillies, Padres, Nationals, Giants, and White Sox.

But as ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted last week, expect the prices to come down from the 10-year, $400 million range.

“For best chance at ’19 success, deals need to happen soon,” Olney wrote.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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