The "what ifs" of MLB free agency have made for some very interesting conversations -- especially when it comes to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
What if I told you someone created a strategic simulation game that allowed people to play general manager and run teams? Well, look no further.
FiveThirtyEight worked with Out of the Park Developments to create scenarios in which Machado and Harper sign with certain teams -- and how they could possibly perform with said teams.
Since Harper is gaining so much traction toward the Giants, let's take a look and the "what if" for the six-time All-Star landing in an orange and black uniform.
The "frequency" of the simulations was at a 64 percentage with the average contract at seven years, worth $175 million if the San Francisco scenario were to come to fruition.
Here's what the article states:
"According to OOTP, San Francisco would pay about $15 million to $20 million more over a seven-year deal than Harper's other potential suitors, and they wouldn't get much postseason success out of it. They are projected to average 85.5 wins per season over the first four years of Harper's deal, finishing second in the NL West (and out of the playoffs) each year."
Remember, these are just simulations. A formula, like the favorite toy, is an estimation we could use to estimate the probability a player could achieve a certain statistical goal: i.e, 3,000 hit club, home run records, etc. But this is more specific with how they could perform on different teams -- and creates specific scenarios.
The results also indicate his WAR numbers would be the "classic inconsistent" Bryce at a 5.7 WAR in his first year with the Giants, then 4.4, then 2.2 -- then followed by a possible 0.6 WAR.
Yikes. But the 85.5 wins per season is at least an improvement.
"After six up-and-down seasons by the Bay, Harper would sign a four-year, $116.8 million deal with the Brewers. He is projected for a strong season on a playoff-bound Milwaukee team in 2025 but then just 2.1 WAR per year over the next two seasons before opting out early yet again to join … yes, the Yankees."
The possibility of him eventually landing on the Yankees isn't a crazy notion, but the specifics to this are pretty amazing:
"During his inevitable run in pinstripes, Harper would boast an .821 OPS as his Yanks make (and lose) the ALCS in 2028, but he would put up negative WAR over the next two seasons. He would retire at age 38 after being released by New York (and briefly rejoining the Giants). Harper's final JAWS score of 49.9 would put him right on the edge of the Hall of Fame relative to other right fielders."
[RELATED: Farhan Zaidi says 'mutual interest' between Giants, Harper]
But these simulations, according to the article, are intended for "fun gameplay." So relax for a moment before you bombard the comments.
So there you have it. A possible scenario where superstar Harper gets signed by the Giants and "inevitably" ends up on the Yankees.