October 29, 2018
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.
Updated odds for what team Bryce Harper will be on for the first game of the 2019 regular season (@BovadaOfficial):— OddsShark (@OddsShark) October 29, 2018
Red Sox +1500
Opening odds for which team Manny Machado will be on for the first game of the 2019 regular season (@BovadaOfficial):— OddsShark (@OddsShark) October 29, 2018
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:
|TOT||- - -||610||183||184||521||.279||.900|
|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 SNY.tv, 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. [sny.tv]
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.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports