MLB free agency is in full swing now, but the biggest stars in the game are playing it patiently in an effort to earn the best possible contract with the team of their choice. Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Craig Kimbrel are all still available and there are continuing rumors that the Giants are shopping ace Madison Bumgarner.
That gives franchises with the financial flexibility to add one of these players the chance to take a huge leap with a star who can provide enormous value. However, that's something everybody wants but not everybody can have.
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Now, BetDSI Sportsbook is offering their take on what might go down during the offseason. Here are the odds:
Manny Machado team in Game 1 of 2019 regular season
White Sox +150
Bryce Harper team in Game 1 of 2019 regular season
White Sox +400
Craig Kimbrel team in Game 1 of 2019 regular season
Red Sox +150
Will Madison Bumgarner be traded before Game 1 of 2019 regular season
Harper and Machado are the type of players you build franchises around and both players are only 26 years old. However, a contract in excess of $30 million annually is expected to be the starting point of negotiations.
Meanwhile, Kimbrel is a dominant closer who can help take a contending team to the next level by shutting the door in the ninth inning. And a trade for Bumgarner would put a playoff-proven stud into a new setting where he can thrive, but the price is sure to be astronomical.
However, looking at these odds, one of the most intriguing options is the Chicago White Sox for Manny Machado at +150. The White Sox struggled lost 100 times last season, so they don't appear to be the sort of team that could attract a player like Machado.
But they've got a loaded farm system, payroll flexibility and they've gone to great lengths already to make sure Machado would feel at home in Chicago. The White Sox traded for first baseman Yonder Alonso, Machado's brother-in-law, earlier this offseason and recently signed outfielder Jon Jay, Machado's best friend.
Neither player guarantees that Machado will sign and they do serve practical purposes given Chicago's offensive issues (Alonso) and their abysmal play in the outfield (Jay). But they do enhance the contract offer that general manager Rick Hahn has already put on the table for Machado.
Looking elsewhere, it's interesting that the Nationals are favored (+150) to retain Bryce Harper. No bridges have been burned there, but when you consider that they couldn't get an extension done while they still controlled his rights, it's reasonable to question whether they would be able to compete from a fiscal standpoint in an open market.
As for Kimbrel, the Red Sox are still the listed favorite but general manager Dave Dombrowski has been speaking of Kimbrel in the past tense of late. So if you're playing these odds, you may want to take a look in another direction.
Finally, there's Bumgarner. The 29-year-old will be a free agent next offseason, so this is a matter of how high the asking price will be from the Giants. Nobody is going to want to give up an enormous prospect haul and then run the risk of losing their return the following offseason because they couldn't afford to get a deal done.