December 10, 2018
On Sunday, while most of the sports world was paying attention to all those wild finishes around the NFL — I'm looking at you, Miami and Oakland — the baseball community arrived in Las Vegas for the annual MLB Winter Meetings, where the bulk of the offseason work, like trades and free agent signings, gets done.
That's no guarantee that Manny Machado and/or Bryce Harper will be signed by the time Matt Klentak and the rest of the Phillies front office return home, but it won't be for a lack of effort.
Just saw all the phillies people check in. It appeared they had not one but two suitcases full of stupid money— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2018
The Phillies have long been expected to be major players this winter, and the Winter Meetings could be just the time for them to strike. However, at least when it comes to one of those two top-tier free agents, an imminent signing doesn't seem like, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
Free agent Bryce Harper will cast a large shadow over the meetings. The slugging outfielder hails from Las Vegas and there will surely be speculation that he could sign in his hometown. That seems unlikely, however, because Harper is seeking the richest contract ever — more than Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million — and a deal like that will take some time. Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, is always patient and willing to go deep into the winter to get his price. [nbcsports.com]
That may be just fine, because he also believes the Phillies are more interested in Machado than Harper anyway — but there are still a lot of questions surrounding whether or not the former Orioles and Dodgers star would be the right fit in Philly, especially now after the Phils traded for Jean Segura, who plays Machado's natural position of shortstop.
The Phillies’ search for more offense still seems to hinge on Manny Machado. The Phils have long liked him and have an interest in signing him to play third base, where he grades out as an elite defender. Phillies officials have been in contact with Machado’s representative, Dan Lozano, and they will surely speak again at the meetings. The question remains: Will Machado back off his desire to play shortstop — some believe he would for the right money — and his desire to play for the New York Yankees, who do have interest in him? Time will tell. ...
The Phillies remain interested in Harper — who wouldn’t be? — and will surely meet with Boras this week. But at the moment, Harper appears to rank below Machado on the Phillies’ wish list. Of course, things can change in a hurry at this time of the year. [nbcsports.com]
And while Harper seems set on inking the richest contract in MLB history, the latest report from Jon Heyman suggests that the market for Machado may not be as strong as some initially suggested, which is potentially great news for the Phillies.
Manny Machado was reputed to have three mystery teams interested (beyond known yankees, phils, chisox), and he may well have. But no one seems to know who they are (that’s why they are a mystery?!) there are skeptics. One exec opined: “He’ll get paid but the market is limited.”— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2018
Manny Machado is doing the opposite of Bryce Harper and plans to visit teams in their city on his free agent tour— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 10, 2018
UPDATE [1:30 p.m.] — Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is set to meet with the media live from the Winter Meetings. You can watch it here:
No matter what happens, whether it's a blockbuster trade or a minor free agent signing, we'll have you covered with all the latest news and rumors — all from legitimate sources — in one convenient place.
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