Steve Garvey Shares Thoughts On Harper, Machado

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado both signed massive free-agent contracts this offseason, but will they succeed with their new teams?

Reiter Than You
March 26, 2019 - 8:33 pm
Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training

USA Today Images

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In 1983, Steve Garvey, who had spent the first 14 years of his career with the Dodgers, signed a five-year contract with the Padres. It is considered one of the best free-agent deals in MLB history, as Garvey was a two-time All-Star in San Diego – and finished his career with 10.

The Padres and Phillies hope that Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, respectively, become historic signings.

Will they?

“Well, I was a little older,” Garvey said on Reiter Than You, chuckling. “I was about 34. Thirty-four is the new 30, but I had more experience, I had more World Series experience – a lot of things that taught me how to be a leader on and off the field. I think I led the league or baseball a couple times in ground-out RBIs or sacrifice flies. So that, you’ve got to convey to the young players.”

Machado and Harper, both 26, are two of the most exciting players in the game, which has changed drastically since Garvey retired in 1987.

“Yeah, there’s launch angle now and home runs are important. Strikeouts may not be,” Garvey said. “But if you look at a guy like Justin Turner – who hits for average, his for power, doesn’t strike out a lot – how valuable he is to the Dodgers and how you need to do those kind of things. Hopefully Machado will do the same thing – and Bryce.”

Harper, a six-time All-Star, has had an up-and-down career. At times – like in 2015, when he won NL MVP – he’s been arguably the best player in baseball. Other times – like in 2016 and 2018, when he hit .243 and .249, respectively – he has struggled.

“I know when Bryce goes the other way, his average goes up and he’s more effective,” Garvey said. “I think with Manny, the same way. So if those players – even at a younger age – can not only be gamers on the field but be teachers and leaders, then I think they’ll get to the promised land, which is the World Series, and hopefully be successful.”