By David Everett Fisher
After the champs parade down their main street, after the pitchers get their Cy Young awards, after the sluggers get their Silver Slugger awards, and after the MVPs get their hardware; players start ending up where they weren’t.
The between seasons is a lot like a long cliffhanger at the end of a TV show. Suddenly Patrick Corbin is joining one of the best pitching staffs in the National League. Paul Goldschmidt is now a Cardinal. Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz head over to the New York Mets for a lot of prospects and cash. How does this all play out next season?
We are still waiting for the big guys, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to pick their new homes. People are online at this very moment guessing where they are going. There are people who are excited by the possibilities, and there are those who decry the very over-ratedness of these two super stars.
A week before Patrick Corbin officially became a Washington National, twitter exploded with delight and horror after Corbin’s younger brother put on a New York Yankee hat during his best man speech at Patrick’s wedding. It added so much drama to the possibilities. He then signed with not the Yankees.
Even players who choose to stay with their teams add to the story of baseball. Nathan Eovaldi resigned to the Boston Red Sox on the vapors of one of the best pitching performances in baseball history in the World Series. Boston fans were elated.
New York Met fans were not so happy after learning they would take on an aging overrated second baseman and some of his huge contract. Did they get the better end of the deal, or is Cano gonna be an overpaid pinch hitter and Edwin Diaz gonna be on DL for all of 2019? These are questions that the internet citizens pose.
Trades will happen all the way through next year, and we will be waiting with bated breath as the trade deadline in the downslope of summer approaches, but here in the winter we wait for the best Free Agents to find their new homes.
Sometimes these signings work. Nolan Ryan got that one million dollars when he signed with Houston, Greg Maddux turned down a bigger paycheck to sign with Atlanta in 1993, and Dave Henderson signing on in 1986 for the Oakland Athletics ended up helping the A’s win a World Series in 1989. These were all huge names in baseball and them getting picked up by teams that became so much better because of them.
You can’t write about the best free agent signing without mentioning the busts. Andruw Jones becoming a Dodger, Chone Figgins heading north to Seattle, Carl Crawford getting paid by the Boston Red Sox, and my personal favorite flop, Jason Bay getting 4 years for $66 million by the New York Mets. On paper, all these guys were great ideas, but when they showed up, they didn’t show up.
Sometimes a player expectations are so much higher than on player can possibly accomplish. Ever since Albert Pujos signed with the Los Angeles Angels, they have been on the side of baseball mediocrity. He never performed the way he did in St. Louis. He is still a Hall of Fame player, but it won’t really be because of any of his time in California.
Bryce Harper has the most to prove of all the remaining free agents. He had a less than stellar year, but the expectations are through the roof with his future seasons. He could bring a team to win the World Series, but if he doesn’t, even if it’s losing the series and therefore being the “second best” team in the MLB, he will have failed. If his team ends in not playing in the fall, he will be a bust.
We’ve seen Manny Machado. We have a lot to say about him in his short time with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They say he has no hustle, that he is a diva and dirty. Does any of that cost him a cool few million dollars? He could be the better addition than old Brycie-poo, but the critics are now alerted to his problems and will keep their eagle eyes on him for his whole season.
This is why baseball does not end with the World Series, it is just the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new chapter. We will have so many stories to tell by the time Pitchers and Catchers report. Trades and Aquisitions; these are the things that keep us warm in the winter.
What’s your favorite free agent or trade rumor?
answer in comments.