Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are playing MVP levels and making their hefty contracts look good

The Phillies and Padres are lining up in Philadelphia this week. Both teams entered the season with playoff aspirations and the Padres, up to this point, have played as one of the best teams in baseball. Let’s jump over things at the team level for now and focus on the two biggest names in the series, as they are forever linked to each other: Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.

It’s a shame Harper is facing UCL injury, but he just got a PRP injection in his elbow and will likely be back in the next few days. However, this is the best time to check in with the superstar duo.

You know how in today’s internet world, someone will say “he’s aged well” and is usually mocked sarcastically? Example: “That Chris Davis contract has aged well!” (Did you know it actually lasted until 2022? With him set to make $ 23 million this season? But instead he pulled out and left that money on the table ??)

In the cases of Machado and Harper, their chords with the Padres and the Phillies, respectively, have actually aged well. Until now, incredibly Well.

It was the off-season after 2018, which led to the 2019 season. Both superstars were hitting free will at an abnormally young age due to how soon they debuted in the majors. Both Harper’s and Machado’s free agency periods went far beyond the Winter Meetings. They have entered the new year. Then in spring training.

Machado signed a $ 300 million 10-year contract with the Padres that became official on February 21. Harper signed a $ 330 million 13-year deal with the Phillies that wasn’t official until March 2.

It is year 4 of the agreement for each and the agreements, to reiterate, have been an extraordinary value.

Machado helped lead the group known as Slam Diego in 2020, as the Padres reached the playoffs for the first time since 2006. That season he finished third in the NL MVP vote. He was part of his fifth All-Star team last season and released his best WAR since 2016.

Harper’s teammates haven’t fully cooperated, but since this baseball and not, say, basketball, there’s only so much a player can do. Harper is doing a lot. He won the NL MVP in 2021, leading the majors in doubles, slugging, OPS and OPS +. He has a better career cut line with the Phillies than the Nationals.


And while there are certainly other contenders, it’s plausible that if an NL MVP vote were held right now, Machado and Harper would finish 1-2. Here because:

  • Harper is leading the league or tied for the lead in doubles, home runs, hit rate, extra hits and total bases. He is second in OPS, runs and OPS +.
  • Machado leads the NL for hit, average, percentage to base, OPS, OPS +, times to base and WAR. He is third in total bases and points scored, and is fourth in strokes.
  • Both are within range of the RBI advantage. They both have six stolen bases.
  • Both are still only 29 years old. I told you, these offers are aging really well.

As noted, the two are forever linked.

Each of them debuted at the Beltway in 2012. Harper helped ignite the Nationals first playoff team and won NL Rookie of the Year. Machado made his debut later in the season for the Orioles and was an instant sensation for their first playoff team since 1997. They became superstars in the same region, playing for multiple playoff teams each. They achieved free will together and both signed $ 300 million contracts. And now, in the fourth year of that mega-business, they are among the best baseball players.

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