You know things are as bad as they seem for Manny Machado when his agent has to release a statement saying things aren’t as bad as they seem for Manny Machado.
When the off-season started, Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, declared his client was seeking a contract of ten years and at least $300 million.
This from a player who had defended his lack of running out ground balls by saying he isn’t a player who runs it out. This from a player who, with the prospect of weakly grounding out staring him in the face, decided to spike the first baseman in the playoffs like a street punk, then laughed about it like a street punk.
Then did it a second time.
This from a player who the Dodgers traded for but came to the realization that he was such a cancer in the clubhouse that it wasn’t worth pursuing him long term.
So, it’s not surprising that teams aren’t lining up to make Machado the highest-paid baseball player ever, even though he would instantly make all thirty teams better today and for the next ten years. He has the unique ability to dominate offensively and defensively. On the Rangers he would easily be star player and there would be nobody else even close.
But because of his baggage, the best deal that he has been offered, according to reports by two well-respected baseball writers Bab Nightenbale and Buster Olney, is seven years and $175 million from the Chicago White Sox. This is way way way way way less than he was demanding.
For the player and the agent, it’s an embarrassment. Especially the agent. And it’s because they were so vocal about what they were initially demanding.
Trying to save face, his agent released this statement:
“I have known Bob Nightengale and Buster Olney for many years and have always had a good professional relationship with both. By their recent reporting, like many other rumors in the past several months, have been inaccurate and reckless when it comes to Manny Machado. I don’t know if their sources are blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining agreement by intentionally misleading them to try to affect negotiations through the pubic or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons. But the truth is their reports on the details of the Chicago White Sox interest in Manny are completely wrong.”
He then goes on to suggest the media is somehow in cahoots with the owners to drive down prices on players and that his client and others are going to take a long, hard look at the situation.
I will reiterate. Manny Machado will make any team better. He would be a significant upgrade to all thirty MLB lineups.
Is he worth $300 million? He’s worth what the market will pay him. If I announce I am selling my house for $800,000 and the best offer I get is $100,000, my house is a $100,000 house no matter how much I think it’s worth.
Unfortunately for Machado and Bryce Harper and other free agents looking to break the record for biggest contract ever, most major league teams have stopped trying to win and stopped trying to put the best product on the field. And the ones that are trying to win have wised up to the foolishness of ten-year deals.
The pendulum of spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave has been replaced with a philosophy of doing the least you can to field a team.
Manny Machado might not get what he was asking for. He might not get anywhere near that.
Much of that is he is a flawed player. Much of that is it’s a flawed system.
But most of it is an agent who misread the market.