The Phillies are clearly going all in this offseason, bucking any chance they have of being a major player next offseason. The biggest potential free agent of the 2019-20 winter — Nolan Arenado — appears to be in the middle of contract extensions with the Rockies. If he strikes a deal, it makes Philadelphia‘s decision to focus on this free agency and not wait for next the right choice.
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But there is more good news, potentially, for the Phillies. If the Rockies and their All-Star third baseman are able to agree to a long-term extension prior to Bryce Harper or Manny Machado reaching their own deals, a market price will finally be set. With a pretty relevant reference point potentially available, things could move quickly following an Arenado extension.
Here‘s how MLB‘s Mark Feinsand put it:
Machado and Harper were expected to set that standard this winter, but the 26-year-old All-Stars have struggled to find deals they consider acceptable. According to a source, it‘s entirely possible that neither player signs before March, so it will be interesting to see whether the Rockies and Arenado announce an extension before either player signs a new contract.
“I wonder if Arenado is motivated [to sign an extension] due to those stars still being out there?” an AL executive said.
Should Arenado sign a new deal before either Machado or Harper, his AAV would figure to set an expectation for both free agents, who entered the offseason seeking contracts worth at least $300 million.
“It depends on the numbers, but I would expect the agents to fight to be above [Arenado‘s deal],” one AL general manager said.
The length of an Arenado extension would also likely come into play; the Rockies star will turn 28 on April 16, meaning a seven- or eight-year extension would take him into his mid-30s. With that in mind, that could strengthen Machado and Harper‘s stance on a 10-year deal, which would take the 26-year-olds to a similar age.
“It‘s just another data point for them to use to compare themselves,” an NL general manager said. 
For the entire MLB marketplace, something of consequence happening would be a major lift for a free agency that has moved at a glacial pace — even with pitchers and catchers reporting to some teams in just TWO days.
Does a looming extension from Arenado give Machado and Harper‘s camps a little more motivation to negotiate more quickly — and thereby keeping more control over market value for a superstar offensive player? We haven‘t seen any movement yet, so apparently no. But the aftermath could have a positive impact if a deal gets done.
In the meantime, follow along without live chat/open thread throughout the day to keep up with any budding rumors or news updates:
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