Asks the Washington Post:

Spring training opens in less than three weeks, and no one wants Bryce Harper.

Or Manny Machado.

At least no one wants them very much.

What you hear all over baseball is the sound of one hand clapping as owners backslap each other quietly for their marvelous miracle of salary subtraction.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed right-handed-hitting free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock for $55 million guaranteed for four years. That’s another door slamming on Harper. That Dodgers trade of Yasiel Puig last month was done to open an outfielder spot for Pollock, not for Harper. He’s shut out. Again.

I predicted this last March: “The $400 million Harper contract — that’s dead. Over the next year, we will find out just how deeply it’s buried under the rubble of MLB’s collapsing free agent salary structure. Is his new price more like $300 million for eight years or perhaps $250 million, if he’s lucky, for seven?

“When the pendulum of baseball economics swings, it swings further than anybody anticipates.”

I thought I had exaggerated. Instead, I was cautious. Harper’s best concrete offer now is not for an average annual value of $37.5 million or $35.7 million (my guesses).

No team claims that it has any contract offer on the table to Harper at all.

There’s been plenty of big talk and goo-goo eyes but no “sign here.”


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