The 2018-19 MLB free agency class was one of the more anticipated in recent memory, as it was expected to include a plethora of elite talent in Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel and Manny Machado, among others.
Some of the shine wore off as Kershaw dealt with another season marred by injury, and he ultimately never reached the open market by instead agreeing to a three-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Meanwhile, free agency has been a slow trickle for a second consecutive year, with Harper, Kimbrel and Macahdo still available. It’s a particularly surprising development in the cases of Harper and Machado.
Both are 26 years old and considered two of the game’s best players. There’s a belief one reason they remain unsigned is because of a showdown between agents Scott Boras and Dan Lozano, per Jonah Keri of CBS Sports:
“Some of it is the agent competition between Boras and Lozano,” said one American League exec.
“It’s possible that neither agent wants to be the one to take less than the other,” said another AL representative.
True to form, Boras commanded quite the crowd when he addressed Harper’s free agency during last month’s Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. It came on the heels of a similar performance at the General Manager meetings last November.
While Boras and Lozano potentially being hesitant to blink first, the larger issue could be the terms the star free agents are seeking. Clubs have become more conscientious and wary of doling out contracts in excess of $300 million, much less a deal in the neighborhood of 10 years.
Nevertheless, the Washington Nationals reportedly increased their offer to Harper after previously extending a 10-year, $300 million pact prior to 2018 regular season concluding.