Jaffe: Harper, Machado, Betts, and history

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on February 15, 2019:

For Bryce Harper, the comparisons to Mike Trout have faded with time. While the Angels’ center fielder has played at an MVP-caliber level in each of his seven full seasons — taking home two awards and finishing as runner-up in the voting four times — his ex(?)-Nationals counterpart has ridden a performance rollercoaster since winning his lone MVP award in 2015, with injuries, struggles against the shift, and shaky defense dimming his star at least somewhat. There’s little doubt that inconsistency is one factor in slowing down Harper’s market now that he’s a free agent, and may prevent him from reaching a record-setting payday, though it is hard to sort out how much of him remaining unsigned is the result of Harper-specific concerns, and how much is the market’s generally tepid temperature. Still, Harper is just 26 years old, as is Manny Machado, his top-tiered counterpart on the free agent market. Both players remain unsigned, even as camp has opened for pitchers and catchers.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/harper-machado-betts-and-history/

Originally published: February 15, 2019. Last Updated: February 15, 2019.