CHICAGO - Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant expressed frustration with free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, who remain unsigned less than a month after spring training begins.
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Harper and Machado, along with other free agents, are still looking for work as February approaches, marking the second consecutive winter in which the hiring of free agents has stopped.
"It's really weird," Bryant said Friday of the Cubs' annual winter fan convention. '' Two of the best players, and they have very little interest in them, from what I've heard. Not good. It is something that will have to change. I know many of the other players are quite upset about that. ''
It is not only free veteran agents aged 30 and older who seek fair contracts. Now they are the youngest stars in the game.
In his Instagram account, San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria also expressed his dismay at the situation and urged players to '' stand firm for what we believe we are worth. ''
Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr, who is a friend of Machado, called the free agency situation "unfortunate."
"Right now we have to sit down and wait," said Almora Jr. "It's unfortunate, possibly, the best two players in the league are taking so long to sign. The game is changing before our eyes. It's a conversation we should have with our player representative. Many of us are eager to have conversations. ''
Bryant said he is confident that Harper will not sign with the Cubs, who have not managed to talk about adding an expensive player.
The Cubs have a $ 200 million payroll, even without Harper, but that will not be the case for most teams.
Bryant was asked why he thinks free agency has slowed down in the past two winters. He said he was not sure of the reason, but ruled out the possibility that it was because "there are not enough teams [que] try to be competitive. ''
"There are a lot of teams that have money to spend, but they're not doing it," Bryant said. '' For me it's very confusing. If I were an owner, president or general manager, I'd love to have Bryce Harper or Manny Machado on my team. ''
Bryant and Almora indicated that they had not talked in depth with Harper or Machado about where free agents could sign; They said the timing of Harper and Machado's availability in January is a good indication of how things are.
'' You work for that moment in your career, '' Bryant said. '' You feel that all the teams should want you. To not have that, it could be discouraging for them ... It's not about greed. They have strived to secure the contracts that are worthy of it. ''