Machado Signing Puts "Dent" In Collusion Claims

Manny Machado signed the richest free-agent contract in American sports history Tuesday

Tiki and Tierney
February 19, 2019 - 5:28 pm
Manny Machado San Diego Padres Los Angeles Dodgers World Series

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After months of inactivity – not to mention cries of collusion – Major League Baseball offered fans an impact signing Tuesday, as Manny Machado agreed to a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres. It is the richest free-agent contract in American sports history.

For Brandon Tierney, this means two things: one, baseball’s free-agent system is not broken, and two, baseball economics have changed. No longer will teams reward players for past performance; instead, they will pay for the best years of their careers.

“Yeah, he’s 26 and a great player, a great two-way player – one of the best players in the game, no question about it,” MLB Network insider Jon Heyman said on Tiki & Tierney. “I think (teams) made some adjustments. The algorithms, the data have shown them don’t pay even the great players who are 31, 32 – like A-Rod, like Pujols, like Cano. It’s probably not worth it. But this is worth it. It’s going to put a little dent in the claim that there’s collusion or something funny going on.

“I will say it’s been a very tough free-agent market for a lot of good players,” Heyman continued. “To still have 60 guys out there as camps open, that’s a lot of guys. I don’t want to say broken, but a few adjustments may be needed. Because Adam Jones is a really good player. Josh Harrison should have a job. (Dallas) Keuchel, (Craig) Kimbrel, Carlos Gonzalez – there are guys out there that should have jobs and do not.” 

Now that one big domino has fallen, perhaps others will soon follow.

“Machado is one of the best players in the game,” Heyman said. “You can’t just look at the offensive stats. Defensively, he’s the best there is. I don’t want to say the best there ever was – because I'm old enough to have seen Brooks Robinson – but he’s in the conversation at least. . . . The best players are going to get paid, and I’m sure Harper is going to do even better. He’s not going to get less. That was the figure he had turned down from the Nats: 10 for 300. In this case, they’re talking about contracts over $300 million with the teams that are in. It seems there are still five or six teams in.”

That includes, believe it or not, the Padres, who have been willing spenders under general manager A.J. Preller.

“I give the Padres credit,” Heyman said. “Preller is kind of a big-game hunter. He likes to be bold. Some of this is about the GM. It’s not his money, but it’s about his abilities of persuasion, what he can convince the owner to try to do. A.J. Preller is probably the key to this.”

While the Padres would love to add Machado and Harper, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to pay a pair of $30-million players.

“I’ve heard they are thinking about it, so we will see,” Heyman said. “The Phillies, I think, are the favorite. I think we’re looking at San Francisco, Washington and Philadelphia as the favorites. It’s unlikely someone comes out of the woodwork at this point, a mystery team, but I’m not going to rule anything out. I know the Dodgers are going to get knocked for seeing the little Padres making a bigger signing than they’ve ever made, but I don’t think that will spur the Dodgers to do anything. That’s just not their thing.”

Click below to listen to Heyman's interview in its entirety.