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October 29, 2018

The Phillies are now the favorites to sign Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this winter

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102918_Machado-Harper_usat USA Today Sports/File

Could both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper be in red pinstripes next season?

With the Boston Red Sox's victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night, the 2018 MLB season officially came to a close. And, as is the case every year, when one season ends, another begins: hot stove season.

Just like last winter, when they landed Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta, the Philadelphia Phillies have a lot of money to spend and are expected to be quite active in free agency, which officially begins on Saturday, the day all players not currently under contract are allowed to negotiate and sign with any team in the league. 

All season, two of the biggest names in this year's free agent class — Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and Dodgers infielder Manny Machado, who Matt Klentak was unable to acquire at the trade deadline — have been linked to the Phillies. 

And now, according to OddsShark, the Phillies aren't just the favorites to land both in free agency this winter, but they're also even-money to land Harper, who has owned Citizens Bank Park in his time with the Nats. 

Whether or not the Phillies are able to attract one or both of those players remains to be seen, and it will be interesting to see if Andy MacPhail prefers Machado, whom he knows from his time with the Orioles, over Harper. 

Here's a look at the career stats for both players:


2012 WSN 98 26 22 59 .270 .817
2013 WSN 71 24 20 58 .274 .854
2014 WSN 41 10 13 32 .273 .768
2015 WSN 118 38 42 99 .330 1.109
2016 WSN 84 24 24 86 .243 .814
2017 WSN 95 27 29 87 .319 1.008
2018 WSN 103 34 34 100 .249 .889
TOT - - - 610 183 184 521 .279 .900

Manny Machado

2012 BAL 24 8 7 26 .262 .739
2013 BAL 88 51 14 71 .283 .746
2014 BAL 38 14 12 32 .278 .755
2015 BAL 102 30 35 86 .286 .861
2016 BAL 105 40 37 96 .294 .876
2017 BAL 81 33 33 95 .259 .782
2018 BAL/LAD 84 35 37 107 .297 .905
TOT - - - 522 211 175 513 .282 .822

But either way, it appears as though Phillies GM Matt Klentak won't have to engage in a bidding war with the likes of the New York Yankees.

According to Andy Martino of, neither Harper is "not a part" of their offseason plans.

As the Yankees wrapped their pro scouting meetings last week and determined a preliminary offseason strategy, a pursuit of free agent outfielder Bryce Harper was not part of the plan, according to major league sources.

As with Manny Machado, who the Yankees will monitor but not likely pursue aggressively, ownership could step in and mandate a Harper signing. The Steinbrenner family just watched the Boston Red Sox win yet another World Series, and might be in the mood to load up on superstars.

But the Yankees' early feeling is that Harper simply doesn't fit.  []

There are plenty of other teams, however, that are expected to be interested in either Harper or Machado, and with both still in their mid-20s, they're in line for monster paydays. 

Landing both is still a total pipe dream for Phillies fans, but at least it's looking more and more likely that they'll come away with one or the other.  

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