Free Agent Face-Off: Bryce Harper or Manny Machado?

The Mets owe it to themselves to go after the big fish in the market. Jeff Wilpon blamed the Mets lack of spending on Sandy Alderson several weeks ago, and there is very little money left on the roster after 2020. With that being said, he and the Mets have no reason not to pursue the big guys in free agency. The two big guys, as you know, are Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.

Machado hit .297/.367/.538 this past season with a 140 wRC+ and .377 wOBA. He came under fire for his comments about hustling, but when you put up that slash line, I don’t care how much you hustle. If a shortstop can hit .297/.367/.538, he can crawl to first base for all I care. In the last three seasons, the Mets offensive production at third base has been more or less non-existent. Todd Frazier was easily the best third baseman the Mets had from 2016-18 and he’s coming off his worst season ever.

Machado could either play short or third. If he plays shortstop, the Mets could feasibly trade Amed Rosario to fill other needs. Trading a guy who was a top prospect and also showed improvements at the plate might seem crazy, but the guy who’s replacing him is only four years older than he is and already established as one of the best players in baseball. Also trading him would not be the same as giving him away. He could fetch a legitimate return for another position.

As for Bryce Harper, the outfielder hit .249/.393/.496 with a .376 wOBA and 135 wRC+. His OBP ranked ninth in the majors and fifth in the NL. He’s coming off a “down season” but was still on of the best hitters in baseball. The guy is an absolute star.

Most know the back story with Harper. He came up at a very young age, had his ups and downs, and had one of the best seasons of all time in 2015 (His 197 wRC+ ranks No. 41 on the all-time single season list). He struggled with a shoulder injury in 2016 which essentially sapped his power but rebounded in 2017 only to be robbed of a MVP due to a fluky knee injury. In 2018, Harper hit .214/.365/.468 with a .226 BABIP. His BABIP rebounded as evidenced by his slash of .300/.434/.538 in the second half. At this point, you probably get the picture as to Harper being one of the best hitters in baseball.

Now the question is, how does he fit with the Mets? He is probably best suited for right field so that means Brandon Nimmo would assume the duties of center. The problem is the Mets lineup would be heavily left handed and susceptible to lefties late in the game.

Between the two, I would rather backup the truck for Harper. He’s the better hitter which makes him a safer bet in my opinion. Both Harper and Machado have incredibly high ceilings and but Harper’s floor is higher. But the question is, who fits the Mets better?

The answer to that is likely Machado. The Mets can free a spot at third or short and have a need for a right-handed bat as opposed to a left-handed one.

A core of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Machado can definitely slingshot the Mets. Not to mention there can be added contributions from Jeff McNeilPeter Alonso, and Amed Rosario.

About Dilip Sridhar 453 Articles
I became a Mets fan in the 2008 season. Since the Alderson regime, I've embraced saber-metrics and advanced stats to back up my eye tests.