There's no sole culprit for the insanely slow MLB free agent market this offseason, but if you're looking for people and organizations that are contributing to the problem, look no further than the two stars that have yet to find a new home: Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
The two are apparently holding out for mega-deals in the ballpark of Giancarlo Stanton's behemoth of a 13-year, $325 million contract, and neither of them are willing to fold first.
Their talents are undeniable. Harper is a six-time All-Star and an MVP with 184 career home runs to his name at the ripe young age of 26. Machado, also 26, is a defensive wiz and has earned four All-Star nods of his own.
But for their pride to be the reason why neither of them have signed is a bit disappointing. These are supposed to be the game's greatest stars. These are supposed to be the players that give it their all for the fans 162 times a year.
For them to be holding out in the hopes of a record-breaking contract or that the other signs first is embarrassing for the league. It's no wonder that Commissioner Rob Manfred seems to be on the verge of begging the two to sign.
Rob Manfred is hopeful that baseball's biggest free-agent stars Bryce Harper/Manny Machado are signed before position players report for spring training next weekend: "Obviously, we want our star players signed and ready to go when we start playing.''— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 8, 2019
Much like the Le'Veon Bell holdout drama that the Pittsburgh Steelers endured in the NFL this past season, each day that passes is another day that this story controls the narrative around the MLB.
Until one of them bites the bullet and signs with a team, they're just as culpable for the incredibly boring offseason as the teams are.