Buy or Sell: D’Angelo Russell, Pittsburgh Pirates and Utah Jazz

While Joel Deering, Mickayeen Farner and I were discussing, Joel brought up D’Angelo Russell’s move to the Golden State Warriors, and labeled Russell as the next Steph Curry. Mickayeen immediately disagreed. So the two decided to debate it out here in this week’s Buy or Sell. Along with Russell vs. Curry, we’ll also bring up the Pittsburgh Pirates after they crushed the Chicago Cubs 5-18 and the Utaz Jazz and their Western Conference chances. 

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D’Angelo Russell by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Aman: D’Angelo Russell is capable of being the next Steph Curry?

Mickayeen: I’ll start with the classic Player A/Player B scenario. These are the first four seasons of Steph vs the first four seasons of D’Lo:

Player A (per game): 16.5 points/ 3.7 rebounds/ 5.1 assists
Player B (per game): 19.2 points/ 4.0 rebounds/ 6.1 assists
Seems pretty close on the surface, but when we dig deeper and look at more advanced numbers, we see where the separation really is:

Player A: 35.3 3P%, 49.2 eFG%, 76.2 FT%, 51.9 TS%, 28.2 USG%, 6.6 WS, 4.6 VORP
Player B: 44.6 3P%, 54.8eFG%, 90.1 FT%, 58.6 TS%, 24.2 USG%, 24.7 WS, 11.2 VORP
Explanation of those stats: 3P% is simply three-point percentage; eFG is adjusted for the three-point FG is worth one more point than the two; FT% is free-throw percentage; TS% is a true measure of efficiency, taking into account, two-pointers, three-pointers, and free-throws; USG% is usage percentage, or the estimate of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor; WS is the estimate of number of wins added by the player, similar to WAR in baseball; and VORP is an estimate of points added per 100 possessions.

Player A is D’Angelo Russell and player B is Stephen Curry through their first four years in the league. I mean, it’s not even really that close when you look at it. Steph shot 10% better from three-point land, was more efficient in every single category, and scored more points per game despite having a lower usage rate than D’Lo. The counting stats wills look closer when looking at the per 36 minutes or per 100 possessions because of that higher usage rate, but make no mistake about it, even though D’Lo is a really good player, he is no Steph, and the efficiency numbers and advanced metrics reveal that truth.

Joel: Looking at Mickayeen’s breakdown of D’Angelo Russell against Steph Curry, I can see how one might think to say Russell is the next Curry is ridiculous. However, there are several other stats we can look at that will say otherwise.

In their first four seasons in the league, Russell made 589 three-pointers, while Curry made 644. Curry made 55 more three-point shots than Russell. However, Curry also started more games and played more minutes per game. During their first four seasons, Curry started 28 more games and averaged 5.6 more minutes per game than Russell.

When you do the math, you’ll find that Curry averaged 2.55 three-point shots made per start. Looking at Russell, he averaged 2.63 three-point shots made per start. At that pace, had Russell started as many games as Curry during their first four seasons, he would currently be at 662 three-point shots, 18 more than Curry.

Moving on to their points per game, Steph Curry beat out Russell in points averaged per game during their first four seasons. We could go back to the starts argument here, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll compare how long it took each player to get over 20 points per game. It took both Russell and Curry until their fourth NBA season to average over 20 points per game, Russell averaging 21.1 and Curry 22.9.

Next, we’ll look at their assists. How long did it take each player to average over six assists? It took both of them until their fourth NBA season, with Russell averaging 7.0 and Curry 6.9.

Next, let’s look at the playoffs. Steph Curry didn’t take his team to the playoffs until his fourth NBA season. D’Angelo Russell didn’t take his team to the playoffs until his fourth NBA season. What seed were their teams in their first playoff appearance? They were both six seeds.

Finally, I’ll just add that D’Angelo Russell is the youngest player in NBA history to reach 500 three-point shots made. Russell may not have the same shooting percentages as Curry, but there are plenty of other similarities between the two guards.

Mickayeen: The Utah Jazz are favorites to win the Western Conference?

Joel: As it currently stands, I don’t think the Jazz are considered the favorites to win the Western Conference. They’ve made some really nice moves this offseason, which I think definitely makes them contenders to win the Western Conference, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say the favorites.

Looking at the teams in the Western Conference, you’ve got the Nuggets (Should be even better than last season), Warriors (Will still be contenders despite losing Durant and Klay being out), Blazers (Consistently tough), Rockets (Despite drama, should still be there), Lakers (Should be in the playoffs this season), Clippers and several other teams. Among all those teams, I don’t think I’d take the Utah Jazz as favorites. Do they have the pieces to win the Western Conference? I think they do. Are they the favorites? I think at least a few other teams would be favored at this point.

Aman: I was about to buy this, but then the Los Angeles Clippers did two things. First, they signed NBA Champion Kawhi Leonard from Toronto Raptors. Due to that, Paul George signed from Oklahoma City. To be honest, even Leonard alone would’ve pitted the Clippers as favorites for me. And adding onto Joel’s points, the Houston Rockets can be NBA title contenders, forget the Conference. The Trailblazers, Warriors and the Lakers will likely be in the hunt, not to forget the kind of damage the Denver Nuggets can do. Therefore, I sell this.

Joel: The Pittsburgh Pirates will finish with a better record than the Philadelphia Phillies by the end of the season despite the Phillies having Bryce Harper?

Mickayeen: I wish I could buy the Pirates being better than the Phillies by the end of the season, but I just can’t. Even as it stands right now (July 3rd), the Phillies are 3.5 games better, have a +6 run differential while the Pirates have a -39. The Phillies are the more talented team overall and will probably finish 5-10 games better than the pirates. You can never say never in sports, especially baseball, but this doesn’t seem like it’ll finish close.

Aman: In terms of wins and losses, both teams seem similarly consistent this season. The Pirates have just won two fewer games, but the reason I buy the Pirates doing better than the Phillies this season is the away ratio. The Pirates have a batter away record winning 22 games compared to the Phillies’ 20.

 

Now that you have our takes on these intriguing debates, let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

  • Is D’Angelo Russell set to be the next Steph Curry?
  • Are Utah Jazz favorites to win the Western Conference?
  • Will the Pirates beat out the Phillies?

2019 MLB predictions preview: Player Awards

All week long we have been counting down the days to Opening Day of the 2019 MLB season. This year the season opens up on Thursday, March 2019 with all 30 teams coming out swinging for the fences. We could’ve said that the MLB season has already been underway after the Seattle Mariners swept the Oakland Athletics 2-0 in their two games in Tokyo, Japan a week ago.

But before we get to opening day, Fourth Quarter Sports wants to finish what we started and that is giving you our picks for the awards and playoffs leading all the way to the World Series.

Chris Sale” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

We have already given you all our takes on each division and what we think will happen throughout the season. But now it’s time to see who we think will win each of the major awards in the Major Leagues. There are four specific awards that we will be focusing on this season and we will break them up by the league.

Let’s start with the American League awards

 

Rookie of the Year

Dan– OF Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays)

Rahim– OF Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays)

Aman– OF Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays)

Dennis– OF Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays)

Adam– OF Eloy Jimenez (Chicago White Sox)

Mickayeen– OF Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays)

Adam is the only one that didn’t go with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but let’s see if he knows what he’s talking about! Junior is the clear favorite if he can stay healthy, but Jimenez could find himself in a lot of nice positions to drive-in runs.

 

AL Cy Young Winner

Dan Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)

Rahim– Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox)

Aman– Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox)

Dennis– Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox)

Adam– Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox)

Mickayeen– Gerrit Cole (Houston Astros)

Many of us believe that Chris Sale’s new contract will give him the extra boat of confidence this season as he looks to be the best pitcher of all the pitchers in the league. It will also be the first career Cy Young award for Sale as he leads the Red Sox’ back to a possible World Series.

 

AL Manager of the Year

Dan– Brad Asmus (Los Angeles Angels)

Rahim– Brad Asmus (Los Angeles Angels)

Aman– Brad Asmus (Los Angeles Angels)

Dennis– Kevin Cash (Tampa Bay Rays)

Adam– Rocco Baldelli (Minnesota Twins)

Mickayeen– Brad Asmus (Los Angeles Angels)

Could this be the year that Angels finally take back the division? The Angels may not be able to pass the Houston Astros just yet, but Brad Asmus is good for the team and Mike Trout.

 

AL Most Valuable Player

Dan– 3B Alex Bregman (Houston Astros)

Rahim– OF Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)

Aman– OF Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)

Dennis– OF Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)

Adam– OF Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)

Mickayeen– 3B Alex Bregman (Houston Astros)

When I said that Asmus was good for Trout, I meant it! Although, I think that Bregman has finally came along as one of the best players in baseball. Bregman will look to continue off from his strong performance last year.

After deciding between Bregman or Trout in the American League, let’s turn our attention to the National league and see where we differ here.

 

NL Rookie of the Year

Dan- 1B Peter Alonso (New York Mets)

Rahim– OF Victor Robles (Washington Nationals)

Aman– OF Victor Robles (Washington Nationals)

Dennis– OF Victor Robles (Washington Nationals)

Adam– SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego Padres)

Mickayeen– SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego Padres)

We all could agree that Robles role with the Nationals will be huge as he’ll be asked to fill the shoes of Bryce Harper. But can he win the rookie of year or will it be Tatis Jr. or Alonso?

 

NL Cy Young Winner

Dan– Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)

Rahim– Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Aman– Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)

Dennis– Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)

Adam– Jack Flaherty (St. Louis Cardinals)

Mickayeen– Noah Syndergard (New York Mets)

This is where things get interesting. Scherzer is a clear favorite to win the award again this year, but we would all like to see how the competition plays out.

 

NL Manager of the Year

Dan– Gabe Kapler (Philadelphia Phillies)

Rahim– Gabe Kapler (Philadelphia Phillies)

Aman– Brian Snitker (Atlanta Braves)

Dennis– Dave Martinez (Washington Nationals)

Adam– Mike Shildt (St. Louis Cardinals)

Mickayeen– Clint Hurdle (Pittsburgh Pirates)

This one also goes several different ways, but I would like to see if Kapler can actually manager the stacked Phillies team to a winning season and a division title.

 

NL Most Valuable Player

Dan– OF Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies)

Rahim– 1B Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)

Aman– OF Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies)

Dennis– OF Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies)

Adam– 1B Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)

Mickayeen– 3B Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)

Will Harper’s move result in a MVP, or maybe Goldschmidt’s trade can get him his first MVP of his career? Can Arenado prove that his contract is worth all the money he’s getting from the extension? Let’s see who the best player in the National League will be!

2019 MLB predictions preview: Introduction

With less than two weeks until the 2019 MLB season begins, the Fourth Quarter Sports team is going to be analyzing each division. In addition to the divisions, we’ll take a look at award and playoff predictions.

Mike Trout” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A new article will be released each day until the season begins. Certainly, the offseason hasn’t been as interesting as the NFL offseason has been so far, but the contracts that have been signed were historic. Several big name players are on different teams and will make a huge impact for them throughout the upcoming season.

Boston will be trying to be the first to win back to back World Series titles since the Yankees in 1999 and 2000. Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Manny Machado need to prove they are worth all the money they are getting. We’ll get into those topics with more detail as we go along.

The first article will be on the AL West division, mainly because the Mariners and A’s open their season this week in Japan. Here’s the official schedule.

March 20th – AL West

March 21st – NL Central

March 22nd – AL Central

March 23rd – NL East

March 24th – NL West

March 25th – AL East

March 26th – Awards

March 27th – Playoffs

Stay tuned with us through our series of predictions to see who we’ve got going all the way!

Buy or Sell: Harper, Raiders, Jaguars, Lakers, Atlanta United FC, and Lightning

We’ve changed things up a bit this time around, as another member of the team joins us for this supersized version of “Buy or Sell.” Aman Huda will be taking the place of Mickayeen from here on out!
This week we talk about six different topics, covering five sports. Yes, that’s right! We took supersize to the next level, and we would love to get your thoughts on everything we buy or sell this week! In last week’s article, we spoke of Nolan Arenado and his deal, but we left the real deal for Dan Piersman, as he tells us about Bryce Harper!
IMG_3979” by Dinur is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Harper is one of our several topics this week! We also have some big topics about the NFL, to talk about some possible QB moves that could change the landscape of the AFC next season. There’s also the question as to if a struggling NBA team will land a top player in free agency. We also include a bit on the NHL and the defending MLS champions. Let’s get started!

RahimAli: Bryce Harper will bring another title to the city of brotherly love.

Joel: I’ll buy Bryce Harper bringing another title to Philly. I can’t say exactly when that will be, but he’s got a long time to make it happen, so I’ll buy it.

Bryce Harper is one of the best players in baseball. Having him on the team instantly made the Phillies better. Most of the time when you have a star player, especially one of Harper’s caliber, it’s easy to attract other stars as well. I think the Phillies can put together a nice roster over the next few years and really be able to get into not only playoff contention, but championship contention.

Again, I can’t say exactly when this championship will come. I doubt it will be this coming season or the season after, but maybe it could be. You just never know. I can see it happening over the course of Harper’s lifetime Phillies deal.

Aman: I too buy that Bryce Harper can do the job for Philly. If he impresses this season, he’ll definitely make others want to play with him, which will only make the team stronger and better in the future. Perhaps not this season, but within the next five years, it’s definitely a strong possibility seeing a World Series title being delivered to Philadelphia.

 

Joel: The Oakland Raiders will trade QB Derek Carr to target a top QB in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Aman: I sell the Raiders trading him away. It seems as of late that Carr might be important in getting the Raiders to land Antonio Brown, and the Raiders wouldn’t want to compromise on an opportunity like that. If a receiver like Brown can help the rest of the offense for the Raiders next season, the performance of everyone else will only improve. Along with that, if Carr and Brown can form an excellent partnership together, they’ll be crucial to the Raiders winning games next season.

RahimAli: I buy! When the Raiders somehow convinced Jon Gruden to come out of the play-by-play booth to coach again after 10 years, we all thought it was going to be a great thing for both him and quarterback Derek Carr. However, the Raiders and Carr didn’t have a great season at all, as they went 4-12. In fact, before the season started, Gruden traded the teams best defensive player, Khalil Mack, to the Chicago Bears for a first-round pick.

He also traded the teams best receiver, Amari Cooper, to the Dallas Cowboys for another first-rounder.

It’s clear Gruden is ready to clean house. With the offense getting older with guys like Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Jared Cook and Jordy Nelson, who are all 30 plus, it’ll be hard to get rid of them for younger talent or picks.

Carr is 27 and still has plenty of upside. Last season, Carr had a career high in passing yards (4,049) and completion percentage (68.9) in a failed season for the Raiders. That alone should be reason enough for anyone to want to trade for Carr. At the right price, Gruden will do it.

After all, Gruden loves QBs. This year’s class is one of the most interesting, with all eyes on Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins. If the Raiders were to trade Carr, they would most likely be looking to use their 4th overall pick to get a QB like Murray or Haskins instead of ta defensive end as predicted in the most recent mock draft.

 

Aman: The Jaguars can make playoffs with Nick Foles next season.

RahimAli: I buy the Jaguars will make the playoffs next season with Nick Foles. I don’t completely put the failure of last season on the shoulders of QB Blake Bortles, because they had several issues. However, Bortles is one of the issues. I think all the issues will be a point of focus by the Jaguars coaching staff in this offseason and training camp.

One issue was the lack of depth at receiver and running back. The Jaguars’ offense runs through RB Leonard Fournette, who missed half the season with injury, which left T.J. Yeldon to pick up the slack. Yeldon was later joined by Carlos Hyde in a trade. Their WRs were banged up all season long as well. They lost WR Marquise Lee during the preseason.

All that alone was a cause of the Jaguars’ disappointing season. Bortles and the Jaguars went from 10-6 and making the AFC Championship game, to being 5-11 and the last place team in the AFC South. Last place is a regular position for the Jaguars with Bortles,  and it’s clear they need a change at QB.

With all their offensive weapons getting healthy and Foles having success running a similar offense in Philadelphia, I think this is a good move in the right direction. Now only if Jalen Ramsey and the defense can get their act together.

Joel: I buy the Jaguars being able to make the playoffs next season with Nick Foles. For starters, they made the playoffs with Blake Bortles two years ago. Nick Foles is a better QB than Blake Bortles. Not only is he a better QB in terms of talent, but he’s a much better leader. There was something different about the Eagles when Foles was in compared to Carson Wentz, and I believe it was Foles’ ability to lead a team. Blake Bortles isn’t a leader.

Then there’s the fact that Leonard Fournette was injured a lot last season, as RahimAli said. If Fournette can get healthy again, things will go back to the way they were during his rookie season, when he dominated on the ground. With Fournette returning to himself, that will open a lot of things up for Foles. They do need to address their receiver position, but I think they can easily take care of that either in free agency or the draft, at least well enough to get them by offensively.

Finally, there’s the defense. Despite what people might think, the defense was still pretty good last season. They weren’t as good as two years ago, but they ranked tied for fourth in the NFL in points allowed, allowing an average of 19.8 per game. That’s really good! With the offense getting healthier and being upgraded at the most important position, they’ve got a good chance to get back in the playoffs.

 

Joel: Despite probably missing the playoffs, the Lakers will sign at least one big name free agent this coming off-season.

RahimAli: As a Lakers fan hoping for another championship, I buy! But as a Lakers fans frustrated with this season, I SELL! I don’t think the Lakers will land a big name player this offseason.

In fact, I think LeBron will push for coach Luke Walton to get replaced, like he has done to every coach that has coached him not named Erik Spoelstra. It’s part of what LeBron does in his career. I think the Lakers will get a big name coach from outside the organization and have them try their luck; maybe somebody who can coach defense.

The Lakers will definitely miss the playoffs again this season, and everybody is going to be second guessing themselves. All these moves they made to set themselves up for a bright future with the “greastest of all time,” and it’s probably LeBron James’ worst season of his career.

Early last week, I gave three additional things the Lakers lack that has caused the situation they are in. But the biggest thing they lack right now is leadership, and no big name player wants to come to a team with a new head coach and no real leadership. We don’t even know who all will be part of the team next year, besides LeBron James.

But let’s go back to his season stats real quick, he’s shooting a career low, 66.9 percent from the free throw line. Instead of getting the basket and foul, James gets one free throw. I mean, I get he’s trying to get the rest of the players involved and be the playmaker that we all know and love him for, but he has to know when to take control without having a supporting cast like Dwyane Wade or Kyrie Irving.

Also, I don’t think any big name player wants to be the second best on their team. Isn’t that why Irving left in the first place? I mean, you can’t argue that James isn’t great when he just passed Michael Jordan for 4th all-time on the NBA scoring list, but you think scorers like Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard won’t have a problem? I don’t know, maybe Aman’s synopsis is a better one to go with, as I’ll continue to watch the Lakers fight and fail to make the playoffs.

Aman: I buy! The Lakers will definitely have the money to do so. Along with that, the team will be quick to make changes if they miss the playoffs, which includes buying a player or two. Also, coming from a player’s point of view, despite not being as credible of a team right now, it won’t be too hard to attract players to the Lakers, given a chance to play alongside LeBron James and live in a city like Los Angeles.

 

Aman: Atlanta United will defend their MLS title with a new manager.

Rahim: I’m going to sell this one! Sorry Atlanta fans, but repeats are the hardest thing to do. As much as I would love to see them do it again for the city of Atlanta, I don’t think it’s going to happen, and it has nothing to do with the new manager.

Although, I think Frank de Boer can lead the Five Stripe to the playoffs again, winning it all is highly unlikely. Frank de Boer is a European manager who’s more used to a European style of football. In the MLS, de Boer will need to adapt to the high-paced attacking and high-pressure from defenders. Also, the Atlanta United team is based on a South American style of football, something which will take time for de Boer to adapt to.

Plus, there are other teams who look more hungry for the title this year. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Los Angeles Galaxy are still looking to prove themselves. LAFC was pretty impressive in the opening season, and it seems they can only get better. We just saw usual favorites Seattle Sounders pound FC Cincinnati 4-1. And DC United, with Luciano Acosta and Wayne Rooney look like a proper football team.

That’s just the nature of the game we call Soccer. All it takes is one goal and a season can be over. For the sake of Atlanta United FC, it was a late first half goal in the Cup final that sparked the championship and ended a curse of the city of Atlanta. Read more about what that curse meant here.

Joel: I’m going to sell Atlanta United defending their title with a new manager. As is the case for RahimAli, it has nothing to do with the new manager. RahimAli also stated how hard it is to repeat championships.

It happens every once in a while, but it’s extremely hard to do. I know the NFL is completely different, but I’ll use the New England Patriots as an example. They’ve won six Super Bowl titles with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Out of those six, how many times have they repeated? Just once.

Yes, they’ve made it back to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years, but they’ve only won it in back-to-back years once. This is proof that it’s extremely hard to win a title after winning it the year before. I think Atlanta United will be a good team, but I’ll sell on them defending their title.

 

RahimAli: With the Tampa Bay Lightning being the only team in the NHL with 50 wins, they are the favorite to win the Stanley Cup?

Aman: What makes a hockey team great? Their offense. The team with the best offense, the team which scores the most typically becomes strong favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Having 257 goals under their belt, the next best team in terms of goals is the Toronto Maple Leafs. When it comes between the Lightning and the Maple Leafs, the Lightning are favorites to advance further, and most likely to a Stanley Cup final. The Lightning’s playoff experience has been a lot better in recent history, and their confidence will likely be higher than that of Toronto’s. Therefore, I buy Tampa Bay taking the Stanley Cup home this time around.

Joel: I’ll buy the Tampa Bay Lightning being the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you look at the standings, they have 51 wins. The next closest team has 41 wins. Having 10 more wins than any other team means they’re not just the best team, but they’re quite a bit better than the rest of the field. I also think that anytime you’re the best team in the league, you should be favored to win the championship.

It just makes sense for the team with the best record to be the favorite. To give some statistics to back their record up, Tampa Bay ranks first in Goals For per game (3.84) and fourth in Goals Against per game (2.61). So not only are they a great offensive team, they’re a great defensive team too. That’s a great combination for winning a championship.

 

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And there you have it! Now, what do you think?

  • Could Bryce Harper bring a title in Philly?
  • Will Nick Foles lead the Jaguars to the playoffs if he were to sign there?
  • Could Derek Carr be traded?
  • Will any big name player join LeBron James as a Laker after possibly missing out on the playoffs?
  • Can Atlanta United FC defend their crown?
  • Are the Tampa Bay Lightning the favorites to win the Stanley Cup?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

MLB’s historic offseason

After a boring MLB offseason, things finally started to pick up on February 19th. Manny Machado and Bryce Harper finally signed with a team, and Nolan Arenado signed a historic extension.

Bryce Harper” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I’m going to go through all these deals to give you a short recap.

 

1) Nolan Arenado

The All-Star third basemen has agreed to stay in Colorado for years to come, assuming he doesn’t opt out. The contract is for eight-years and worth $260-million with an opt out after the third year.

Now, assuming Arenado doesn’t opt out, that will keep him with the team until 2026, when he is 35 years old. The deal does also include a full no-trade clause, and Arenado will be making $32.5-million annually, which is the record for a per year salary for a position player. He’s a 4-time All-Star and has won a Gold Glove in every season he has played in so far (6). So far over his career, Arenado has batted .291 with 186 home runs and 616 RBI’s, which are great numbers.

It’s crazy to think that he’s better in the field than at bat, but numbers don’t lie.

 

2) Manny Machado

Machado was the one who started all this signing chaos back on February 29th. At the time, it was a record-breaking contract, until Bryce Harper outdid it, but we will get into that when we talk about Harper. Machado signed a 10-year $300-million deal with the San Diego Padres and has an opt out after 5-years.

Machado will evenly spread out his contract and make $30-million every year. The deal locks Machado up until 2028, assuming he doesn’t opt out of his contract. If he doesn’t opt out, he can become a free agent after the 2023 season. Machado is joining a team that finished 66-96 and last in NL West in 2018. The Padres have the number one farm system in baseball, but who knows when it will turn them into a playoff or world series caliber team? Either way, Machado is guaranteed all his money and has security over the next ten years. The first five years in San Diego will be crucial to whether he stays with the team or not.

 

3) Bryce Harper

The most anticipated signing of the offseason. After so much speculation on what team was going to spend the money on Bryce Harper, we finally got our answer on Thursday. The 6-time All-Star, 2015 NL MVP, and 2012 Rookie of the Year will be staying in the NL East.

The outfielder signed a historic 13-year, $330-million-dollar deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. That contract includes no opt outs, meaning Bryce Harper will be in Philadelphia until 2032, when his is 39 years old. Harper turned down multiple big offers, including an offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers that would have paid him $45-million annually. Harper also turned down multiple $300-million-dollar offers from teams like the San Francisco Giants and his former team, the Washington Nationals.

After what I’m about to tell you, you may be as puzzled with his decision as I am. The Giants offered Harper 12-years, worth $310-million-dollars. Now yes, the Giants finished with a worse record than the Phillies, but in terms of longevity like Harper wants, he will get more out of playing in San Francisco because the weather is better year-round than Philadelphia.

The most confusing thing may be the deal he turned down with the Washington Nationals. They offered him 10-years, worth $300-million-dollars with a $100-million-dollar deferred portion of the contract that would have kept them paying Harper until he was 60-years-old. Why would you turn this contract down? The Nationals are certainly a better team than the Phillies, and the pitching rotation isn’t even close. The nationals blow the Phillies away in terms of pitching, especially after adding Patrick Corbin. He could have still been getting paid well over 20 years after he retires, depending on when Harper calls it quits. But that last part was just my opinion.

 

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These are three of the best players in the game today, and will be for years to come. It will be interesting to see who will top Bryce Harpers total value contract and when it will happen. Could it possibly be Mike Trout, who is arguably the best player in baseball right now? He will be a free agent in 2021, but that’s a whole different article we will get into another time.

NL East Mount Rushmore

Chipper Jones” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Atlanta Braves

  • Hank Aaron, RF, 1B, 1954-1974
  • Chipper Jones, 3B, LF, 1993, 1995-2012
  • Greg Maddux, P, 1993-2003
  • Warren Spahn, p, 1942, 1946-1964

Hank Aaron is one of the most iconic figures in the history of baseball. He’s second on MLB’s all-time home runs list with 755, but many still consider him the home run king. He leads the Braves in pretty much every offensive category and holds the MLB record for career RBI’s with 2,297. Aaron spent 21 seasons with the Braves and was a 20-time All-Star.

Chipper Jones spent his entire 19-year career with the Braves and was elected into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2018. Jones was an 8x All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger winner, and the 1999 MVP. He finished his career with a .303 batting average, 468 home runs and 2,726 hits.

Greg Maddux spent 11 seasons with the Braves. In terms of stats, there aren’t many people in franchise history who were better. Maddux won four straight Cy Young awards. Three of them came with Atlanta. He appeared in six All-Star games with the team. Maddux managed to post a 194-88 win/loss record, which is .688 percent, and a 2.63 ERA. He tallied 1,828 strikeouts and only 383 walks.

While he never technically played for the Atlanta Braves, Warren Spahn spent 21 seasons with the Boston Braves and the Milwaukee Braves. He is widely considered the greatest pitcher in Braves history. He is a 17x All-Star, and he also won a Cy young Award. Spahn is the franchise leader in wins (356), games started (635), shutouts (63) and innings pitched (5,046).

 

Bryce Harper” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos

  • Bryce Harper, OF, 2012-2018
  • Gary Carter, C, RF, 1974-1984, 1992
  • Vladimir Guerrero, RF, 1996-2003
  • Max Scherzer, P, 2015-Present

Bryce Harper may not even be a National here soon, but there’s no question he is on the franchises Mount Rushmore. He’s only been on the team for seven seasons, but he’s only been in the league for seven years. You can say Harper revived baseball in D.C. Ever since his arrival, they have been making the playoffs. Although nothing has come during the playoffs, the Nationals still are relevant again. Harper was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2012, NL MVP in 2015, and has made six All-Star games so far. No matter where Harper signs this offseason, his impact in the nation’s capital are unmatched.

Gary Carter spent 12 seasons with the Montreal Expos and is arguably one of the greatest catchers in MLB history. His bWAR is just incredible, and he also managed to win three Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers with the team. Carter also appeared in seven All-Star games with the franchise and wears an Expos hat on his Hall of Fame plaque.

No matter where the ball was thrown, you could be sure that Vladimir Guerrero was going to find away to hit it. Guerrero is remembered as having one of the greatest arms in the history of the game. Who could forget when he would hit balls that bounced in front of the plate? Vlad could hit, run, throw and do anything else you needed him to do.

I may get a lot of heat for who I’m about to put in the last spot on this Mount Rushmore because of time spent with the team, but I’ll be sure to explain why I’m picking this player. Typically you must be on a team for eight seasons before you are in talks for Mount Rushmore, but for the last spot on this young franchises list, I’m going with Max Scherzer.

Scherzer has only been on the Nationals for four seasons, but in those four seasons he has changed the course of that team in so many ways. So far, he has 68-32 with 1,128 strikeouts. He’s won two Cy Young awards and made the All-Star game each of his four seasons with the team. He threw two no hitters in his first year with the team, and in 2016 he tied an MLB record for strikeouts in a game with 20. Scherzer has lead the league in strikeouts the last three seasons, while also leading the league in wins and innings pitched in 2016 and 2018.

 

Chase Utley – Phillies vs Nats 8.2.12” by Matthew Straubmuller is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Mike Schmidt, 1B, 3B, 1972-1989
  • Steve Carlton, P, 1972-1986
  • Roy Halladay, P, 2010-2013
  • Chase Utley, 2B, 2003-2015

Arguably the greatest player Philadelphia Phillies history is Mike Schmidt. Schmidt is the franchise leader in home runs (584), games played (2404) and RBI’s (1595). Schmidt spent his entire 18-year career with the Phillies and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995. He was a 12x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove winner, 6x Silver Slugger winner, 3x MVP, and the 1980 World Series MVP in which he won his only world series title.

Steve Carlton played 15 years with the Phillies and was one of the most dominate pitchers in the league during that time. He’s the franchise leader in wins (241), strikeouts (3031) and games started (499). On top of these incredible stats, Carlton also won four straight Cy Young awards while with the franchise.

This may be a confusing decision to some people, but I choose to put Roy Halladay on this list for a couple reasons. Halladay compiled a 55-29 record while in Philly and racked up 622 strikeouts. Halladay was one of the most dominate pitchers of his time. In 2010, his first year with the team, he won the NL Cy Young award. His 2010 season is really what puts him on this list for me. On May 29th, 2010, Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in MLB history. Later that season, on October 6th, 2010, Halladay became just the second pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in Postseason history. Two no-hitters/perfect games in one season and a Cy Young award is enough to put the late great Roy Halladay on this list.

Chase Utley essentially was the Phillies franchise during his 13 years with the team. He was a part of the historic 2008 and 2009 teams that won a World Series in 2008 and then made the World series again in 2009, but lost to the Yankees. Utley made all six of his All-Star game appearances with the Phillies, including five straight from 2006-2010.

 

David Wright” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

New York Mets

  • Tom Seaver, P, 1967-1977, 1983
  • Dwight Gooden, P, 1984-1994
  • Mike Piazza, C, 1B, 1998-2005
  • David Wright, 3B, 2004-2016, 2018

One of the greatest pitchers in baseball history is going to kick the New York Mets Mount Rushmore off. Tom Seaver leads the franchise in wins (198), ERA (2.57), WHIP (1.076), games started (395), strikeouts (2541), innings pitched (3045.2) and shutouts (44). In his 12 years with the team he made ten All-Star games, including seven straight from 1967-1973. Seaver won three Cy Young awards as a Met and led the league in ERA in 1970, 1971, 1973. Seaver also led the team to their 1969 World Series and won the 1967 Rookie of the Year award.

Ahh Dwight “Doc” Gooden, let’s put the drug use aside (even though that’s what he’s known for). He won the 1984 Rookie of the Year award, and then won the 1985 Cy Young award. Doc didn’t really have the stats of a stellar player, as he only made four All-Star teams, which came in his first five years in the league.

Mike Piazza spent eight years with the team and now leads the franchise in slugging percentage. He was a 6x All-Star and a 5x Silver Slugger award winner. Without a doubt, the biggest moment of Piazza’s career with the Mets, and maybe even his whole career, is the home run he hit in the first baseball game after the 9/11 attacks in the Mets home of Citi Field. Piazza also went into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016 with a New York Mets hat on his plaque.

Would this Mount Rushmore really be complete without Captain America, David Wright? Wright spent his entire 14-year career with the Mets. Injuries unfortunately ended his career a few years earlier than it should have ended. When he was healthy, Wright was one of the best 3rd basemen in the league. He leads the franchise in runs scored (949) and hits (1777). Wright was a 7x All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger winner, and a 2x Gold Glove winner. It will be interesting to see if he is ever elected into baseball immortality.

 

Giancarlo Stanton” by Corn Farmer is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Miami Marlins

  • Gary Sheffield, RF, 3B, SS, 1993-1998
  • Hanley Ramirez, SS, 1B, 3B, 2006-2012
  • Jose Fernandez, P, 2013-2016
  • Giancarlo Stanton, RF, 2010-2017

Gary Sheffield spent 22 years in the league. Six of those came with the Florida Marlins. This is another case where an exception is made for the eight-year rule. Sheffield spent more years with the Marlins than any other franchise, and it was hard to find many players for this somewhat young franchise. The Marlins have only been a franchise since 1993, which Sheffield was apart of. He recorded 538 hits, 122 home runs, and a .288 batting average during his time with the franchise. Sheffield also made two All-Star appearances with the team and played a huge role in the 1997 World Series championship.

Hanley Ramirez won the 2006 Rookie of the Year award and made his only All-Star appearances with the franchise. He is near the top of most offensive categories. If it wasn’t for Giancarlo Stanton, he would probably lead a lot of them.

Jose Fernandez only played in the league four years before he tragically lost his life in a boating accident in 2016, but what an impact he made on the Marlins franchise and the game of baseball. During his short career, he certainly could’ve been considered Miami’s ace. He won the 2013 Rookie of the Year award and made two All-Star appearances, his first year and his last year. Fernandez was 38-17 with a 2.58 ERA and had 589 strikeouts with just 140 walks. Fernandez’s death rocked the MLB world, as he was arguably one of the most popular players in the league. Rest in Piece.

Although he isn’t on the Marlins anymore, Giancarlo Stanton is without a doubt the best position player in the franchise’s history. He played eight years with the Marlins, and boy what an impact he made. Four All-Star appearances, a Silver Slugger winner, and was the 2017 NL MVP. Stanton recorded 960 hits, 267 home runs and a .268 batting average. Him leaving and being traded to the Yankees may leave a sour taste in some fans’ mouths, but regardless, he is the best player the Marlins franchise has ever seen and may see for a while.

MLB Hall of Fame

Cullen Jekel’s Imaginary MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

On January 22nd, Major League Baseball will announce the next group of players who have been voted into the MLB Hall of Fame. There are 15 players returning to the ballot after missing the cut last year, while another 20 players are eligible for the first time.

The voting rules are pretty straightforward. Each eligible writer can vote for up to 10 players on a single ballot. If a player garners at least 75% of the votes cast, he’s inducted. A player stays on the ballot for up to 10 years if he earns at least 5% of the vote. If a player doesn’t get to 75% of the vote by his 10th year on the ballot, he falls off the ballot.

MLB Hall of Fame
Main Gallery, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York, July 2005” by Marcbela is licensed under Public Domain

Here, I’m not going to look at each of the 35 players on the 2019 ballot. Instead, I’m going to vote for 10 players and explain why I’m voting for each of those individuals. I won’t delve into the why I didn’t vote for the other 25. This is the second time I’ve done this, and I’m going my hardest to stay consistent with my thoughts from 2013. Though, of course, there is change regarding some certain players, as my thought process has changed on at least one of those players.

Note that I’m not predicting who will make the Hall of Fame this year. I’m not going to pretend that I know what other, more seasoned baseball writers think about this process. Yes, I’ve read some articles where those writers explain their ballots, but not every writer does this. Some have hard-and-fast rules about who they vote for. Many won’t vote for guys who have been even connected to steroid use. Some won’t vote for guys with personal character flaws.

To each his or her own.

Now, in no particular order, here’s how I would vote for the 2019 MLB Hall of Fame.

 

MLB Hall of Fame Votes

Barry Bonds

Year on Ballot: 7th
Last Year’s Vote: 56.4%

Yes, he’s the face of the Steroids Era. However, in my estimation, home runs saved baseball after the 1994 strike. Bonds is one of the three mashers responsible for bringing baseball back from the brink of irrelevance. Put an asterisk by his name if you want, but the numbers can’t be ignored. The Home Run King deserves a spot in Cooperstown.

With his voting percentage creeping up over the years, from a low of 34.2% in 2014 to last year’s high, there’s a chance the actual voters will get this right and induct the former Pirate and Giant before his 10 years is up.

 

Roger Clemens

Year on Ballot: 7th
Last Year’s Vote: 57.3%

With hitters seeking every advantage they could find, it was no surprise that pitchers would, too. So if I’m going to vote for Bonds, I’ve got to vote for Clemens, The Rocket. A man who won 354 over a 24-year (!) career that included stops with the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros.

In that time, Clemens won seven Cy Young awards, with six coming while pitching for those AL East teams. His seventh came with the Astros when he was 41. He also won MVP in 1986. His 4,672 career strikeouts rank third all-time behind only Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.

Again, put an asterisk by his name if you want, though I feel it’s unnecessary. Regardless, he deserves enshrinement.

 

Sammy Sosa

Year on Ballot: 7th
Last Year’s Vote: 7.8%

When writing about Bonds, I stated that he was one of three mashers I feel are responsible for saving baseball after the 1994 strike. The other two were involved in the Great Home Run Chase of 1998: Mark McGwire (who’s fallen off the ballot) and this man, former Cub Sammy Sosa.

It’s interesting comparing Sosa to Bonds and Clemens. All three players were connected to performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and all three are in their seventh year of voting. But unlike Bonds and Clemens, both of whom garnered over 50% of the vote last season and have a reasonable shot at getting inducted before their 10 years is up, Sosa is closer to falling off the ballot before his 10-year mark.

Why, exactly, is that? It seems that it’s because Bonds was more of a complete player than Sosa. Plus, while Sosa hit those home runs, he isn’t at the top of the all-time list. In that 1998 Home Run Chase with McGwire, Sosa finished second. While he’s great, he’s not an all-time great.

At least that’s the perception. I disagree. He kept the Cubs relevant through some very lean years. He made seven All-Star games and even won the MVP in 1998. That was the year he finished with 66 home runs to McGwire’s 70. In three seasons, he hit more than 60 home runs, and added 50 home runs another year. He led the league in runs scored three times, home runs twice (ironically, in none of the years he hit more than 60), RBIs twice and total bases three times. Before all the PED talk, he collected two 30-30 seasons. His 609 career home runs rank ninth all-time.

Sosa is an all-time great. He’s got my MLB Hall of Fame vote.

 

Scott Rolen

Year on Ballot: 2nd
Last Year’s Vote: 10.2%

Rolen scored a 56.9 on the Jaffe WAR Score System (adorably abbreviated as JAWS) compared with 55.7 averaged by other Hall of Fame third-basemen, as determined by Jpos. That means the former Philly, Cardinal, Blue Jay and Red is better than the average Hall of Fame third-baseman.

That somewhat surprises me, but for the fact that the position is underrepresented in Cooperstown. Overall, Rolen slashed .281/.364/.490 with just over 2,000 hits. 316 of those hits went for home runs. But the seven-time All-Star also earned a whopping eight Gold Gloves at the hot corner, including winning seven in a eight-season span between 1998 and 2006. He earned his first Gold Glove at the age of 23, his last at the age of 35. That’s impressive.

 

Mariano Rivera

Year on Ballot: 1st
Last Year’s Vote: N/A

Never one too high on closers, it shocked me when, in later 2018, the Eras Committee elected to the MLB Hall of Fame Lee Smith. He’s a former closer for, among others, the Cubs and Cardinals. Smith, grandfathered into the 10-year limit, had a whopping 15 opportunities to be elected to the Hall of Fame by voters. He earned 50.6% of the votes in 2012, but only 34.2% in his last year of eligibility, 2017.

Simply, at best, he’s a questionable Hall of Famer.

On the flip side is the greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera. He spent his entire 19-year career with the New York Yankees, winning five World Series in that time. As a closer, he rarely pitched more than an inning per outing, but his 56.2 WAR (according to Baseball-Reference) is higher than that of several hitters appearing on the ballot. That includes Jeff Kent (55.4), Omar Vizquel (45.6) and Fred McGriff (52.6). That’s pretty incredible.

The 13-time All-Star is also baseball’s all-time saves leader with 652. Without question, Rivera is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

 

Roy Halladay

Year on Ballot: 1st
Last Year’s Vote: N/A

Looking at Halladay’s numbers as a whole, one wouldn’t think he’s an MLB Hall of Fame pitcher. But with Halladay, who died on November 17, 2017 in a plane accident, his healthy seasons show he was the dominant pitcher of his era.

In 2002, Halladay finally started more than 20 games in a season. He made the All-Star team that season with Toronto, finishing the year 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA, 157 ERA+, and a 1.191 WHIP. He followed that up by winning the Cy Young in 2003, going 22-7 with a league-leading nine complete games, two of them shutouts, with a 3.25 ERA, 145 ERA+, a 1.071 WHIP and 204 strikeouts.

In 2004 and 2005, Halladay appeared in only 40 combined games. In the following six seasons–four in Toronto, two in Philadelphia–he would finish in the Top Five of voting for the Cy Young Award every season, once again capturing the award in 2010.

What you’re looking at is essentially a guy who pitched the equivalent of eight full seasons. He finished with eight All-Star appearances, two Cy Young Awards (one in each league), and he placed in the Top Five in Cy Young voting in seven of those eight seasons. He led the league in wins twice, complete games seven times, complete game shutouts four times, innings pitched four times, ERA+ once and WHIP once.

Debate longevity all you like. To me, that dominance is more than enough to get the call to Cooperstown.

 

Larry Walker

Year on Ballot: 9th
Last Year’s Vote: 34.1%

Walker is hurt by the “Coors Field Factor,” in that most of his offensive prowess came during his time with the Rockies in the thin-aired Coors Field. It baffles me why that’s being held against him. It’s not like he had much of a say in the matter. And it’s also not like he didn’t hit well outside of Coors Field.

In his 17-year career that began in Montreal, went through Denver and ended in St. Louis, Walker went to the All-Star Game five times, he earned seven Gold Gloves, three batting titles, three Silver Slugger awards and the 1997 National League MVP. For his career, he slashed .313/.400/.565 for a .965 OPS.

No, Walker’s career home run and hit numbers don’t scream Cooperstown, but his peripherals do. Looking at his overall hitting numbers and defensive capabilities, it’s a shame Walker will fall off the ballot after next season.

 

Mike Mussina

Year on Ballot: 6th
Last Year’s Vote: 63.5%

In the past, I’ve been reluctant to include Mussina, but after taking another look at his numbers, I’ve changed my mind. His 63.8 JAWS tops the 61.8 for other Hall of Fame pitchers. His 270 career wins over 18 seasons is nothing to sneeze at. Sure, his ERA is high (3.68), but considering the competition he faced–he spent his entire career in the AL East. It was first for the Orioles (1991-2000), then the Yankees (2001-2008)–that shouldn’t be a surprise.

While the seven-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner never won a Cy Young, he finished in the Top Ten nine times and the Top Five six times. In 2008, his final season, he finally won 20 games after flirting with it on five separate occasions.

 

Manny Ramirez

Year on Ballot: 3rd
Last Year’s Vote: 22.0%

I’m stunned Ramirez doesn’t get more love in the MLB Hall of Fame voting, but then again, he had some suspensions and his colorful attitude drove more people crazy than it did endear fans and writers to him.

But I loved Manny-Being-Manny.

His flamboyant style of play was a calling card of the dominant Indian teams of the mid-90s. He even made the usually unbearable Red Sox worth watching as they undid the Curse of the Bambino. Forget his later stints with the Dodgers, White Sox and Rays (which was a thing, evidently), and remember Manny Ramirez for what he was on the field: a big kid on the field having the time of his life while belting 555 career home runs to go along with a .312/.411/.585 slash line.

Put an asterisk by his name if you must–just put him in the MLB Hall of Fame.

 

Edgar Martinez

Year on Ballot: 10th
Last Year’s Vote: 70.4%

I’m also changing my tune on Edgar Martinez, a solid hitter who averaged 24 home runs per season for 18 years, all with Seattle. He won two batting titles and five Silver Sluggers, while going to the All-Star Game seven times.

Why the hold up?

Well, he played the majority of his career as a designated hitter. Martinez would become the first full-time DH enshrined in Cooperstown. And I can’t think of a better player to get that honor.

The designated hitter rule came to be in 1973, and it’s about time those guys started getting into the MLB Hall of Fame. Like writers using Coors Field against Walker, why should playing the bulk of his career as the DH be held against Martinez? He didn’t choose the role, but he certainly thrived in it, slashing a career .312/.418/.515. His team, the Mariners, exploited the rule better than any team during Martinez’ career, and it’s really only been matched since by the Boston Red Sox with David Ortiz. But even Ortiz, bound for the MLB Hall of Fame when eligible, didn’t do it for 18 years.

Martinez is about to make history by making the MLB Hall of Fame. And he’s got my vote for it.

Does Bryce Harper Deserve to Be a $400M Dollar Man?

19634839662_11596e1c1f_o.jpg
Bryce Harper” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Washington Nationals all-star outfielder Bryce harper recently just rejected a 10-year, $300M no opt out deal, which would have been the second largest contract in MLB history. After rejecting this deal, it makes you wonder just how much it’s going to take for anyone to sign Bryce Harper. It also makes you wonder how much money he’s actually worth.

When Alex Rodriguez got his historic contract in 2008, which was $275M, he was coming off of a year in which he led the league in runs (143), Home Runs (52) and RBI’s (156), while also putting up a .314 batting average. In 2014, When Giancarlo Stanton signed his $325M contract over 13 years, the largest contract in baseball history, he was coming off a year where he tallied only 24 home runs, 62 RBI’s and a .249 batting average. Now, these are two very different seasons that resulted in the two largest contracts in sports.

Harper is coming off a year where he tallied 34 home runs, 100 RBI’s, 13 stolen bases, and a .249 batting average. He wants a $400M contract. However, throughout his seven-year career, Harper has put up numbers almost unbelievable for someone so young.

At only 26-years-old, Harper should have a long a career left in him, assuming he doesn’t have any major injuries that force him to retire early. In his career so far, Bryce Harper has 922 hits, 184 home runs, 521 RBI’s, 75 stolen bases, with a career .279 batting average. Harper has also made the all-star game in six out of his seven seasons, 2014 being the only year he did not make it, as he was plagued with injury.

Bryce Harper won rookie of the year in 2012, and NL MVP in 2015. Without a doubt, Bryce Harper is already a future hall of famer and may break many offensive records, assuming he stays healthy.

But $400M is a lot of money to gamble on one player who has been known to get injured a lot and not be able to control his emotions very well. Now, he’s 26, so his attitude will get better with age, you would guess. The big question is:

Will He Get $400M, and What Jersey Will He Be Wearing Come Spring Training in February?

It seems like after rejecting the Nationals offer, he will not be playing in Washington DC for the first time for his major league career. Originally, it was thought the favorite to sign Harper would be the Chicago Cubs so that he could team up with longtime friend Kris Bryant, but that hasn’t been in the news much lately, as there are some big obstacles that could prevent him from going there.

Jason Hayward currently has $106M to play right field through 2023. The obvious choice seems to be the New York Yankees because they are known to spend money and already have a star-studded outfield in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. But could they really take on that contract? They already took on Stanton’s $325M contract. Aaron Judge is going to be a free agent and is going to have arbitration available in 2020 and be a free agent in 2023. He is an obvious franchise outfielder for the Yankees.

It now seems unlikely the Yankees will try for Harper, as the contract load would just be way to big on their luxury tax on top of all the “baby bombers” who will be hitting free agency soon.

Shockingly, it looks like the favorite team to sign Harper is the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are a very young team and have been gearing up for this year’s free agency class for a long time. Bryce Harper does have good numbers in Philly. In just 40 games there, Harper has 12 home runs. Bryce Harper could be the extra step they need to be a contending team in the division. Bryce Harper’s agent seems to really like Philadelphia. It will be interesting to see where Bryce Harper will be playing next season and for how much.

To see more on potential landing spots for Harper, check out Cullen Jekel’s article, “Potential Landing Spots for Bryce Harper” here: https://fourthquartersports.org/2018/10/25/potential-landing-spots-bryce-harper/