Back-to-back days hanging out at Connolly’s Tap Room.
That’s what happens when a rainout on the road occurs. Besides, this topic seemed, well, topical.
Just about every day this season I’ve received an email or tweet from an Orioles fan expressing the same sentiment:
The club needs to sign Manny Machado now. Or they are going to lose him.
I try to tell people that Machado isn’t a free agent until after the 2018 season, and that it’s not do-or-die situation yet. But no one wants to hear that.
The argument – and it makes perfect sense – is that every day the Orioles wait, and every day the 23-year-old Machado does something amazing, his price goes up while the likelihood of him returning goes down.
That’s a shot of reality that the patrons are doling back at the barkeep.
Things didn’t get easier Monday when the Orioles’ neighbors to the south, the Washington Nationals, reportedly locked up one of their homegrown stars.
According to various reports, the Nationals agreed to a seven-year extension with pending free agent Stephen Strasburg that will pay him $175 million through the length of the deal (which also includes a couple opt-out provisions).
As dominant as Strasburg can be, the 27-year-old hasn’t quite lived up to the crazy expectations placed on him when he was drafted first overall in 2009. He’s topped 200 innings once and his career ERA is 3.06 — excellent, but not other-worldly.
And he pitches; pitchers’ shelf lives and periods of dominance are shorter than position players.
So understand that Machado, whenever he gets his big deal, is likely going to blow that $175 million figure away. If he continues his current trajectory, he’ll be facing free agency at age 26. One can only imagine how much he’ll command on the open market; $30 million per year and/or $250+ million total are within reach.
A player has eclipsed the $250-million-plus bar only three times: Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million deal with the Miami Marlins and Alex Rodriguez’s two, 10-year contracts with the New York Yankees, one for $252 million; one for $275 million. Five major leaguers have netted deals worth $30 million or more annually; Miguel Cabrera is the only hitter on that list.
We don’t have to argue at the Tap Room today whether baseball players are worth that kind of money. They aren’t. No one, anywhere, in any occupation, is. But there are players that will get that kind of money in the near future, because that’s where the market is trending.
And Machado, who looked up to Rodriguez as a young kid in Miami and ultimately became friends with the superstar, is in that conversation.
It would be a lame Tap-In question to ask whether the Orioles should sign Machado before he becomes a free agent. Say no to that, and I’m automatically cutting you off at the bar.
The real question is how much would you pay Machado to stay in Baltimore long-time? How about $25 million per year for eight years or $200 million? My assumption is that may not get it done. Because if Machado stays healthy, he’ll earn way more than that on the open market.
Consider that Robinson Cano, a second baseman, received a 10-year, $240 million, free agent deal from the Seattle Mariners shortly after his 31st birthday. And that was way back in 2013.
Right now, Chris Davis is the highest paid Oriole ever at $23 million a year. Machado likely would crush that number annually if he were to sign an extension.
So I guess my question to you is how much is too much for Machado? What’s your breaking point: $25 million annually, $30 million, $35 million?
I don’t see the Orioles going into that stratosphere; they’ve never been an organization to tie up so much money on one player. But I didn’t think they’d give Davis $161 million over seven years, either (no matter how much is deferred). And Machado is much younger than Davis.
So if it is your wallet, what are you thinking?
Tap-In Question: What would be your take-it-or-leave-it extension offer to Manny Machado?