Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middletown said recently that the organization may be “a little stupid” in how much money it spends to land one of the two premier free agents on the market – Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
I can’t argue with that. The Phillies aren’t the only team who has decided a single player is worth more money than a Fortune 500 company CEO. Washington reportedly made Harper a 10-year, $300 million contract offer which he declined.
So, why do some people think Harper is worth that kind of money? As I recall, he played 159 games for the Nationals last year, and the team finished 80-82 and missed the playoffs after having been a preseason favorite to make a World Series bid.
Harper batted .249 in 2018, and he was hitting below the Mendoza Line early in the year. He finished the season No. 16 in OPS. A player’s on-base plus slugging percentage is considered by many to be the most important single stat to measure value.
Harper will probably end up in New York. The Yankees pour millions of dollars into the free agent market each year and haven’t won the World Series in a decade. This year won’t be any different unless they acquire a quality starter.
In contrast, the St. Louis Cardinals (my favorite team) have focused on building and maintaining a great farm system.They did acquire All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from Arizona for practically nothing.
Have you ever wondered why teams like Oakland and Tampa Bay continue to put competitive teams on the field each year? Why did the Atlanta Braves come out of nowhere in 2018 as a playoff team? Think about it.