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$400 million? Harper, Machado might have to settle for less

Sure, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will still make a fortune this winter. But this free-agent class just isn't going to get what agents dreamed of a few years ago. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Long after Manny Machado and Bryce Harper move on to the great cornfield in the sky (or Iowa), generations of their descendants will still benefit from the inheritance. Whenever each star player picks some team's offer over the next month or so, Harper and Machado will be guaranteed staggering wealth.

And yet it seems possible the final inked figures in their respective contracts won't be as significant as anticipated. Speculative projections like $400 million have been floated in recent years, some going so high as half a billion. I've contributed to that conversation, while looking ahead to what we thought would be frenzied bidding for the amazing, remarkable, incredible free-agent class of the winter of 2018-2019.

As it turns out, the bidding for the group of players hitting the market this winter isn't so wild and crazy; in fact, it seems fairly tame, with short lists of suitors for all of the best players. Oh sure, Patrick Corbin got a sixth year in his offer from the Washington Nationals, raking in a $140 million deal. The Phillies' $50 million investment in Andrew McCutchen surprised rival executives. Harper and Machado will get many, many tens of millions of dollars.

But they might not necessarily destroy records in the way we expected.