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December 23, 2018

Live MLB free agency updates: Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and the latest Phillies news and rumors

On Saturday, we recapped the blockbuster trade between the Dodgers and Reds that seeming opened up space in Los Angeles for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper. And while that certainly appears to be a sign Harper will be wearing Dodger Blue next season, it's no guarantee.

Here's how Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY sees things, which can be viewed as glass-half-full for Phillies fans but also paints a scary picture of the power some agents have over the landscape of the sport.

With that, we present the only guarantee after the Dodgers beat the holiday buzzer and cleared the decks for a superstar:

Harper and Manny Machado just got a whole lot richer.

Suddenly, agent Scott Boras has a big, blue stalking horse, an iconic franchise worth some $3 billion that’s thirsting for a World Series after falling just short in two consecutive years.

And what if the Dodgers, against all reason, didn’t do this to kick the tires on Harper?

That doesn’t really matter, does it? All Boras needed was the appearance the Dodgers are in.

Now, he can truly strike fear in the heart of Jerry Reinsdorf in Chicago, or John Middleton in Philly, who know there won’t be any sneaking in and preemptively snagging the two greatest players to hit free agency this decade.

While there was always the chance of a covert strike by a Dodgers or Cubs or Yankees, it also seemed plausible that the White Sox and Phillies – both sitting on piles of cash and both desperate to goose a pair of shriveling fan bases – would squire away their stars. ...

Now? Well, Mr. Middleton, the money’s about to get real stupid, indeed.  []

Can the Phillies still pull off a major move and sign either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado? We'll have to wait and see as the calendar prepares to flip to 2019. Middleton and the Phillies front office better hope they get something done, because the natives are restless — and Eagles season hasn't even ended yet.

As we do every day, here's a look at the latest free agency news and trade rumors surrounding the Phillies.

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