It’s not a coincidence that both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are lingering on the free agent market in the opinion of at least one former big-league executive. In an appearance on the Jeff Blair show Tuesday morning, former Miami Marlins president David Samson said the two stars are trying to out wait each other out on the advice of their agents, Scott Boras (Harper) and Dan Lozano (Machado).
“Each agent has promised his player that he will make more than the other player,” Samson said, “and the only way to fulfill that promise is to wait for the other player to sign so you know what you have to beat.
“So they’re both afraid to go first — and that’s what the stalemate is.”
Earlier in the week, we learned that Machado was reportedly sitting on an eight-year offer from the Chicago White Sox worth upwards of $250 million. However Samson cautions that misinformation can be used strategically this time of year.
“The agents leak on social media different offers,” Samson said. “They leak different teams who are interested. They leak all sorts of information for the sole purpose of getting an owner to panic and tell his GM — ‘wait, we have to sign this guy right now or we’re going to lose him.'”
Another instance of negotiating through the media may have occurred on Sunday, when USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the Philadelphia Phillies had emerged as clear-cut favourites to sign Harper.
“Scott Boras leaks that Bryce Harper is meeting with the Phillies for five hours,” Samson said. “They’re now the favourites to sign him. So Scott Boras calls (a GM) and says ‘listen, you better beat $325 (million) because right now we are one minute away from going to Philly.’
“And we know that’s a load of garbage, but sometimes an owner panics and tells a GM we got to move now — but right now, that’s not happening.”