Major League Baseball has recently been at the top of the sports headlines with massive contracts being signed by three of the sport’s biggest stars: Nolan Arenado, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. These deals are, in total, worth about $1 billion dollars — a sum unrivaled by any of the other other major American professional sports organizations. In an era of astronomical television deals being signed by just about every team, franchises have more cash to spend on free-agents and contract extensions to retain current players. These television deals have increased revenue for the sport by 257 percent from the period between 1995 to 2013. Whether or not these contracts are justified is a matter of debate, but what is clear are the new expectations that the market has created, as explained in a 2013 article.

The first free agent taken off the block was Manny Machado, the elite 26-year-old two-way infielder who signed on Feb. 21 with the San Diego Padres. The deal is for 10 years, with an opt out clause after year five, and worth millions of dollars. Since entering the major leagues, Machado has proven that he is a one-of-a-kind defender, dishing out show-stopping plays from shortstop, as well as third base seemingly on a daily basis. His hitting skills have also improved year after year, which is exemplified by his jump from a .267 average in his rookie year to batting .297 last year. He is also now consistently putting up large power numbers, clubbing at least 33 home runs in each of the last four seasons, according to

The second deal was not a free agent signing, but rather a contract extension for the Colorado Rockies’ franchise cornerstone Nolan Arenado. The extension was signed on Feb. 27 for a duration of eight years and was worth $260 million. Arenado is a case of another third baseman who flashes otherworldly defensive skills, consistently positioning himself at the top of highlight reels. He, like Machado, has overcome his low .267 rookie season, with his annual batting average hovering around .300. At 27-years-old and only just entering his prime, he has become an absolute presence in the middle of the Rockies batting order, making hitting 40 home runs and driving in 125 runs seem routine. Although he is playing half his games in a hitter’s park, these numbers cannot be ignored. 

Lastly, perhaps baseball’s most notorious of them all, super-star outfielder Bryce Harper signed the biggest total contract in baseball history worth $330 million, edging out Giancarlo Stanton’s record-breaking contract by $5 million. His deal will cement him to the Philadelphia Phillies for 13 years with no possibility for opting out. He was one of the most hyped players in the history of baseball from a high-school age, which left high expectation to live up to. Although he has not become the best player in the majors, he still puts up incredible slugging numbers and flashes the skills of a true five tool player. It must be admitted, that his batting average can at times be subpar, but his plate discipline, leads him to achieve a high on base percentage. Although there is still much to be desired from Harper, he is undoubtedly committed to beginning a dynasty in Philadelphia, and at 26 years old, his best playing seasons are yet to come.