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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 3/1/19

Smart money for Harper; how Scott Boras closed the deal; why free agency is still broken

MLB: Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Dan Szymborski: Bryce Harper got his “stupid money,” but it was very, very smart money. Not only does ZiPS project he will produce $289 million of the $330 million (which doesn’t even mention that the AAV was significantly lowered to the Phillies’ benefit), he also seriously helps them in divisional contention; he bumps them from a projected 84 to 88 wins, nearly doubling their chances of winning the NL East.

Sports Illustrated | Tom Verducci: Here’s how the Harper deal got done. Scott Boras was given strict instructions to a) hit the contract record and b) exclude all opt-outs. This certainly got the Phillies in the race, who offered ten years and just under the Giancarlo Stanton deal. The Dodgers created leverage by offering a short-term, high-AAV deal (that they never intended on taking), which forced the Giants into the race to offer a 12-year deal, which ultimately forced John Middleton’s hand to give him the three extra years and thus the money he was looking for. It seems all the talk of Boras “overplaying his hand” was, shockingly, wrong.

The Athletic | Eno Sarris ($): Just because Harper and Manny Machado got the money they desired does not mean free agency is healthy, that’s for sure. By basic estimates it looks like they’ll be paying less than $8 million per WAR, which would significantly undercut the previous market value of players like this, not to mention the rising revenues, other unsigned free agents, and the declining free agency middle class.