Kershaw, Harper not top 2018 FA

By: Troy Story.

but Manny Machado according to NYPost's top ten's list:

1. Manny Machado — He is coming off a down season (.782 OPS). There are some questions of temperament. There is some lingering worry about surgeries performed on both knees. But even in a down year, he had 67 extra-base hits, brilliant defense as always and played in at least 156 games for the third straight year. He and Bryce Harper — and by extension their powerful agents, Dan Lozano and Scott Boras — are going to slug it out next season to see who beats out Stanton ($325 million) for the largest pact ever ($400 million is in play, maybe even $500 million). Machado gets the slight nod here because of his defensive value, which would only rise if he moves back to short this year.

2. Bryce Harper — The expectation for so long was that he would end up a Yankee, but if you hadn’t heard, their corner outfield now has Stanton and Aaron Judge. That can hurt his market. But not much. It is important to remember that both Harper and Machado will play at 25 next year and both are younger than Judge.

3. Clayton Kershaw — Unless his back issues completely level him or another serious injury arises, Kershaw will almost certainly opt out of the final two years at $65 million owed him. At which point the fascination will become whether the Dodgers, with greater discipline when it comes to finances, will ignore the back and calendar (Kershaw turns 30 in March) to lavish another pitching record pact on the great lefty.

In the same genre, it is less certain that David Price opts out of the final four years at $127 million since there are even more health concerns with him plus questions if he remains an elite starter. But might he want to exit Boston so much that he puts himself back on the market?

4. Dallas Keuchel — With all the talk for years that the Yankees would end up with Harper or Machado from this class, I might put my money on Keuchel as a latter-day Jimmy Key — an athletic lefty, proven postseason performer whose craftiness should allow his stuff to age well.

5. Blackmon — Two years ago, Andrew McCutchen or A.J. Pollock lined up as the best center fielder in this class. But Blackmon just finished fifth for the NL MVP. The concerns: 1. He turns 32 in July. 2. His 1.239 OPS at home (.784 away) reflects that he gets big advantages from playing at Coors.

6. Josh Donaldson — He would be in line for similar pay to Machado if not for the age discrepancy (Donaldson turned 32 this month). He still posted huge numbers last year even with a calf injury having cost him six weeks early.

7. Andrew Miller — One of the captivating storylines from next offseason is which great reliever gets the biggest contract with Miller, Zach Britton and Craig Kimbrel all due to be free. And, by the way, the next level of reliever includes Kelvin Herrera, Cody Allen, Brad Brach, Jeurys Familia, Ryan Madson and David Robertson.

8. Marwin Gonzalez — The way the game is trending has elevated Gonzalez’s reputation, with the ability to play multiple positions well, and so did a career-best .907 OPS last year in his age-28 season.

9. Elvis Andrus — Not long ago, it seemed unlikely he would opt out of the final four years at $58 million due. But then in 2017 Andrus had a 20-homer, 25-steal, .808-OPS season to go along with his usual stellar defense. Plus, he will play next year at 29, and as great as this free-agent class looks, it does not have shortstop depth.

10. Daniel Murphy — There were a lot of ways to go here, with even Brian Dozier and DJ Lemahieu second base options over Murphy, who does turn 33 in April and had right knee surgery in the offseason. Players such as Harvey, Michael Brantley,  McCutchen and Garrett Richards will try to recapture a better piece from their past. Lefty starters Patrick Corbin, Gio Gonzalez, Drew Pomeranz and perhaps even Cole Hamels, if his option is not picked up, are scheduled to be part of this class, as are Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, Joe Mauer and Charlie Morton.

The quality and depth show why the Dodgers and Yankees are angling to position themselves as well as possible for next year’s free-agent class even while a logjam remains with this one.

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