Three seasons have passed since the Colorado Rockies, Philadelphia Phillies, and San Diego Padres spent almost a combined $1 billion in contracts for the services of Nolan Arenado, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado respectively.
A lot has happened since the 2019 offseason for these three players: an MVP, a trade, 2 playoff appearances, and an injury.
So let’s look and see whether or not they have lived up to their lucrative contracts so far.
The Colorado Rockies, Philadelphia Phillies, and San Diego Padres have had mixed results for their contracts.
Bryce Harper 13-years/$330 million
Depending on how one wants to look at Harper’s first three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, there is an argument for and against his massive contract. Of the Colorado Rockies contract with Arenado, San Diego’s with Machado, and Harper’s contract with the Phillies, Harper is the only one to have won the NL MVP which he did in 2021, where he led the major leagues in slugging percentage and also the NL with 78 extra-base hits.
However, he has yet to lead the Phillies to the post-season and his first two seasons with the club came with mixed results offensively.
Manny Machado: 10 years, $300 million
Manny Machado has also had somewhat of mixed bag of results in his short time with the San Diego Padres. Many would consider his 2019 season a big disappointment as he fell short of his career averages in most of the major offensive categories.
He bounced back in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season leading the Padres to the playoffs and finished the 3rd in NL MVP.
Last season his numbers returned close to his career averages, but it could still be considered a disappointment as San Diego failed to reach the playoffs even though the season began with high expectations for the club.
Nolan Arenado: 9 yrs, $275 million
The drama surrounding Nolan Arenado and the Colorado Rockies has been well documented so I won’t rehash that but the question still remains: Has he lived up to his huge contract?
The answer, like the other two big signees, is yes and no.
Arenado’s 2019 season was one of the best in his career. He has extended his Gold Glove streak which now stands at nine straight seasons. He also helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to the playoffs this past season.
However, there is his 2020 season which was shortened to only 48 games due to an injury that also hampered his offensive production. The fact that he was traded a mere two seasons after signing, essentially, means he didn’t fulfill his contract with the Rockies (whether it was his fault or not).
His numbers did fall in his first season with St. Louis as he no longer has the luxury of playing half his games in Coors Field. He also saw most of his park-adjusted stats drop as well, like OPS+.
Overall, all three contracts have not necessarily paid off, especially in the case of the Colorado Rockies, who still have to pay some of the bill for Arenado for years to come.