February 12, 2019
Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater on Wednesday — most of them are already there — but it appears the biggest item on Matt Klentak's offseason to-do list remains unfinished: signing one of the two big free agents available.
On Monday, we saw some new odds suggesting the Phillies' chances of signing Bryce Harper (4-1, third best odds of any team) had taken a significant hit, but they were still better than the Phillies' odds of landing this offseason's other free-agent prize, Manny Machado (5-1, fifth best).
And while that's what bookmakers are thinking when it comes to which teams will sign Harper and Machado, there's a different belief among those who cover the teams involved in the sweepstakes.
See, yesterday's odds had the Yankees listed as 1-2 favorites to sign Machado, but according to SNY.tv's Andy Martino, the Yankees aren't the ones in the driver seat. Hell, they're not even riding shotgun. They're more like the guy driving the car in the next lane trying to figure out why in the world everyone is driving so slowly.
As Yankees players trickle into spring training, the front office continues to check in with Machado's camp, according to major league sources. The Yankees are not the frontrunners for Machado -- both the White Sox and Phillies have been more aggressive -- but they are not out on him, either.
Most likely, this an example of Yankees GM Brian Cashman's free agency playbook. He calls, he waits, he lies in the weeds to see if there is ever a moment where it makes sense to pounce.
People close to Machado still believe that he will ultimately choose the highest offer. That will almost certainly not be the Yankees. [sny.tv]
Martino also added that the Yankees' current offer to Machado is "low" compared to what he's seeking.
So where does that leave the Phillies in their search for a big-name free agent? We'll have to wait and see, just like we've been doing for the last several months. The good news, however, is that something has to happen eventually, and eventually is getting closer by the day.
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