Don’t freak out. OK? Don’t freak out.
In a Wednesday column for ESPN, Jim Bowden wrote that Manny Machado’s representation presented the Orioles with a long-term contract offer back in spring training. His source for this piece of information, he said, was Machado himself.
Obviously, we’re now in the middle of July and nothing has come of that yet, so it’s not worth getting too excited. Bowden notes that the team said it would get back to Machado’s side and has not done so yet. He also said that Machado expressed that there is no hurry.
It’s an interesting bit of news, even if it’s kind of meaningless unless it leads to something happening down the road. Still, it’s not a bad sign that there was at least some initiative on the player end to try to have some contract talks.
Not that there’s any indication of what the parameters that may have been proposed by Machado’s agency. The knee jerk reaction is, “Machado’s interested in staying here long-term? Back up the dump trucks full of money!” Follow down that path and a lack of action to date becomes frustrating, even though there might be a good reason for it.
Maybe Machado’s side asked for something completely ridiculous like 15 years for $1 billion or something. No, that’s an exaggeration, of course. Obviously, it also wasn’t low enough that the Orioles would accept the offer immediately. There’s a lot of room in between those two extremes.
If - and this is a big if - the Orioles waited because they wanted to see another consecutive full, successful season from Machado before committing, they’ve likely cost themselves a lot of money. Machado is headed towards another potential top five finish in the MVP voting - maybe top three or higher. The price tag is not going to be reduced with how he’s performed this season.
Before moving on to other topics in the article, Bowden also points out that Machado’s agents negotiated large deals for Joey Votto with the Reds and Albert Pujols with the Angels. I’m not sure why the Pujols contract is being held up by Bowden as a good thing.
Maybe Bowden meant the contract Pujols had with the Cardinals that ended up being an eight year, $111 million deal. That was signed back in 2004 after Pujols began his MLB career with three straight top five MVP finishes.
Votto, on the other hand, signed a three year, $38 million extension before his first year of arbitration in 2011. A year later, he added on another ten years and $225 million to the contract.
In both of those cases, the player ended up signing at least some kind of multi-year contract before hitting their first year of arbitration. Machado, making $5 million this season, is already past that point. As he was 20 in his first full season, he is younger than either of those other guys was, which likely will, and should, adjust his contract demands upward.
The Orioles will have to pay up in some fashion to keep Machado. This past offseason’s deal with Chris Davis offers some hope that they will do this, but Machado’s going to make more than even Davis money, and he’ll have more suitors to tempt him if he gets to be a free agent, too.
Still, it’s worth something that Machado is interested enough in staying that his agents made an offer to the O’s. Hopefully the two sides can get something done between now and the time Machado is a free agent.