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The offseasons of these teams turn them into lightning rods

Manpower, especially in professional sports, can create strange bedfellows.

Back in 2002, when Bud Selig pushed hard for profit sharing and luxury tax relief from major market clubs to provide assistance The small market clubs – concessions that the players' association had to approve through collective bargaining – were in a strange position to opt for penny pinching. To establish operations such as A and Twins. Blessedly, he rejected such successful teams as "aberrations" among the paupers, and the PA, which did not want to handcuff George Steinbrenner's natural inclination, offered Oakland and Minnesota as proof that the system of time worked perfectly.

Fast-Forward So far, when tensions are booming in baseball, you can bet that the players and owners of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have turned themselves upside down. Let's call them by-sides. Teams ̵

1; and causes – will mutilate and obviously support and reject them in order to promote their agenda.

No matter how the free agencies of Harper and Machado decide, these four teams will be lightning rods out of baseball in 2019, a fifth encircling the airport.

1. Nationals. Do you remember when this free agent class would destroy all investment records? If that had been a tweet, the kids would say it did not age well. So far, only a nine-digit contract has been issued to a free agent. The good news? The contract significantly increases the roof, as the $ 140 million that the Nats have provided to left-hander Patrick Corbin over a six-year period is said to be comparable in the coming years.

  Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper AP

] If you intervene with Brian Dozier, Trevor Rosenthal, Anibal Sanchez and Kurt Suzuki, as well as Cleveland's deal with Yan Gomes, the Nats invested about 193 million this winter Dollars in the talent of the players. If this is a sum that neither Harper nor Machado would find acceptable for their parcels, it still cites the moment and represents an unusually aggressive approach to the willful executive in this era.

And if the Nats actually find Harper back with one Contract that exceeds its original $ 300 million offer over a 10-year period? PA boss Tony Clark could easily say "screw it" and wear a curly W-cap in his Manhattan office every day.

2. Mets. Yes, in retrospect, COO Jeff Wilpon was probably not sure to publicly ask on Thursday how many teams employed two $ 30 million players than the answer "The Nationals!" Lautete – who will pay Max Scherzer $ 42.1 million and Stephen Strasburg $ 38.3 million will try to outperform the Mets in the National League East for the seventh time in eight years.

Nonetheless, Mets' offensive season under rookie CEO Brodie Van Wagenen, most not known to Harper and Machado, will still be union-friendly. This is partly because, with spending of $ 130 million (for the time being), they rank second behind the Nationals. Firstly, because their trust in 36-year-old Robinson Cano and soon to be 35-year-old Jed Lowrie displaces the analytical trend of not trusting anyone over 30. And partly because Van Wagenen himself was the former agent with the outspoken player sympathy, serves as a test case in a time in which so many team members whipped their teeth into the main division of Major League Baseball and absorb the mindset. The success of the BVW could open the minds and purses of other teams.

3. Reds. You have long been a bad baseball team in a great baseball town. They throw caution into the wind and go into a division where "it" is pretty hard to get. The Brewers and Cubs played a 163rd game to determine the winner of the NL Central 2018, and the Cardinals added Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller to a team that had gone between 88 and 74 last year. The Reds said: "Whatevs". They made a massive trade with the Dodgers, who hired a trio of high-risk, threatening, free agents – outfielders Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, and pitcher Alex Wood – on their squad. They signed starter pitcher Tanner Roark for a one-year contract. And they acquired Sonny Gray from the Yankees and immediately signed him for an extension.

A 67-95 record could make a big enough jump for the Reds unrealistic, and one disappointing result could be the young talent they gave to the Dodgers and Yankees of all teams. Among those who experienced such a bite were the players who complained about the number of teams that do not make every effort to bring a great product to the pitch every year. Cincinnati certainly will not fall into this category this season.

4. Red Sox. At first sight, it was thought to be a quiet winter for the defending champion. You know that the game lasts nine more innings, right? You have to bet on a reunion, someday, between them and their own free-fighter Craig Kimbrel.

Regardless, the Red Sox still has the game's largest planned payroll (about $ 238 million, according to baseball reference), and they helped players with their four-year, $ 68 million commitment to Nathan Eovaldi, their October Stallion In just two seasons (2013 and 2018), he managed to deliver both significant innings and above-average results.

. 5 (possibly) Phillies. Yeah, those were the guys who made the party in this Hot Stove League. Owner John Middleton noted that "maybe even a bit stupid," he told USA Today in November. This mentality has so far led them to subjugate Andrew McCutchen, the helper David Robertson and Jean Segura, none of whom was particularly stupid. They ran against Japanese thrower Yusei Kikuchi, just to see him picking the Mariners.

It will still be a big surprise if the Phils meet neither at Harper nor at Machado; Harper seems more likely now. As long as that happens, these guys will also win a fleet of secret admirers.

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