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The End of Overpriced Contracts in MLB

Recently there has been a lot of chatter regarding the slow burning free agent market for the second year in a row, even with massive stars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado on the open market. However, previous expensive and terrible long contracts have never worked out for any team looking at Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano, Giancarlo Stanton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Davis, Alex Cobb, Miguel Cabrera, and various others.

I know for the most part this off-season I’ve been one of the people saying that Machado overplayed his hand and isn’t on the level of a Harper. At this point, though, I understand from the standpoint of the teams as to why they don’t want to step up and offer a ten year contract to Harper or Machado, because everyone has learned their lesson that it never has worked, and never will. The real question is, if Harper and Machado really think they are as good as they say they are, then why not sign a five-year deal and come back to free agency at age 31 and go at it again?

In my opinion, only being interested in a ten year contract shows a bit of laziness on the part of the player. They don’t want to have to go through free agency again, so they want a long term deal. It is crazy to me, because they will be young enough to still be in their primes and could cash in if they went to free agency again. Overall, here’s what I would offer the top free agents, as well as selecting the best destination for each:

Bryce Harper: Five-year contract worth $125 million to the San Francisco Giants

Manny Machado: Six-year contract worth $85 million with team option for a seventh season worth $15 million to the Chicago White Sox

Dallas Keuchel: Four-year contract worth $56 million to the Philadelphia Phillies

Craig Kimbrel: Three-year contract worth $60 million to Atlanta Braves

Gio Gonzalez: Two-year contract worth $28 million to the Milwaukee Brewers

Based on rumored interests that we have seen on the hot stove this off-season, that’s where most of these choices came from as they all make sense in my opinion. The one contract that I think might be most likely is the Machado contracts even though it is a lot less then what Machado was asking for. Now, I do think we will be seeing a bump in contract prices in the coming years with names like Madison Bumgarner, Chris Sale, Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado and others likey hitting the open market in the coming years. But those guys are on a different level then those who are on the market this years, especially Trout.

As a Mets fan, I’ve seen it with Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes, Oliver Perez, and to a lesser degree Jason Vargas, but overpaying for a player never works, just like a long extension never works.

Overall there has be some sort of common ground where the MLB Players Association and the league can meet in the middle as far as this dilemma is concerned. The reality is those players are over playing the open market is one thing that has finally come to the surface and I can understand completely why that is the case. Look no further then Kimbrel’s initial asking price early in the off-season. Paying crazy money for players isn’t something owners want to do anymore and I can’t say I blame them one bit.

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