Tanner wrote:An eight year deal for Harper or Machado will cover ages 26-33. They will certainly decline by the end of it, but I don't think either one is that big of a risk to fall of a cliff at that age. Even if you think it will be 3 more years of rebuilding before the Jays are good (I think they can be good a lot sooner but let's say 3 years), then Harper/Machado would be 29 year's old surrounded by a bunch of 20-somethings in Vlad, Bo, Jansen, etc. This is a rare instance where the timeline for a long term free agent actually fits a rebuilding team.
They don't need to fall off a cliff in order to fail to be good value. Harper, in particular, hasn't even been full value for $250m/8 over the past three seasons. Machado is the better bet there, but both still come with far more risk than reward if you're effectively throwing away the first two seasons...and trust me, even with Harper or Machado, there's no way to suddenly just to competitiveness because we have neither the talent nor the available money to do so. Adding one of them would already take us into the range of last year's payroll, something that isn't happening anyway.
I agree that Harper/Machado actually wanting to sign with the Jays is the main hurdle. I have no idea what they want, but I'm sure they'd prefer any American city over Canada. Regardless if no one else is willing to spend big money anymore, then the Jays might be able to get the highest bid without spending the 10/350 that people expected those guys to get. Would they take 8/260? Maybe, depends on what other offers they are getting.
8 years, $260m would need to be the best offer by a solid margin to get them to sign with a team that is rebuilding. It won't be the best offer by a solid margin; it probably won't be the best offer, period.
If the rest of the league were spending money like crazy and trying to compete, then I'd say the Jays are absolutely doing the right thing. But the rest of the league is sitting on their wallets and clutching on to their top prospects with a vice grip. If there was any time to make a big splash in free agency it is now because it's probably easier to sign Harper than it is to squeeze a top prospect from another team in a trade. Can't be a slave to the market.
Teams are sitting on their wallets because making big splashes in free agency has proven to be an objectively bad idea. We shouldn't zag by undertaking objectively bad ideas simply because other teams have wised up. Yeah, there's an inflection point where it stops being such a bad idea, but spending a quarter billion as a value bet when rebuilding isn't that point.
**** your asterisk.