February 02, 2019
It's never felt more like Groundhog Day. Every day, we write a live updates post in the hopes that it will finally be the day the Phillies announce they've signed either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. So far, that hasn't been the case, and it's really starting to feel like those two free agents are never going to sign.
The good news is, out in Punxsutawney, Phil has predicted an early Spring this year. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like that prediction is going to play any part in speeding up Machado's and Harper's decisions. So, why is it taking so long?
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com was asked — and answered — just that in his weekly mailbag over at MLB.com.
Why don't the Phillies just pick either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper and give them what they want? What is taking so long to sign one of these free agents?
-- Tony G., Eldersburg, Md.
It would be awesome if Phillies general manager Matt Klentak called up agents Scott Boras or Dan Lozano today and said, "How much do you want? Let's wrap this up now." But then I imagine having pockets full of cash, walking into a car dealership and telling the salesperson, "I'm leaving this lot today in a new car. Name your price."
Sure, you want the DeLorean, but you need the gas money, too.
Nobody knows what offers are on the table, other than the agents, players and teams involved. Are Boras and Lozano asking for too much, or are teams lowballing two of the greatest players in baseball? The truth is probably somewhere in the middle: The agents have not seen anything they feel they can accept, while teams are waiting for the asking prices to drop. Unfortunately, this game of chicken is dragging into February, with Phillies pitchers and catchers holding their first workout on Feb. 13. Hopefully it ends before March 1.
But I still believe Philadelphia will get one of the two. I wrote the other day that the front office probably still prefers Machado because of his combination of offense and defense, but Harper's impressive meeting with the Phillies in Las Vegas in early January at least leveled the playing field. If the Phils can reach an agreement with Harper first, they will move forward with him. They just want one of these guys. [mlb.com]
Zolecki was also asked about the potential of the Phillies signing both players, and wasn't as quick to dismiss the idea as one may think, given that the Phillies themselves have basically said that's not a possibility. You'll have to go over to MLB.com and check out the full story to get that answer.
Don't worry, we've likely got to live this day over a few more times before there's any resolution.
As for the rest of the MLB trade rumors and free agency news, we've got you covered in our latest live updates post below.
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