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September 23, 2018

MLB rumors: Phillies leaders to sign Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, willing to trade away nearly anyone

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0923_Machado_Harper_USAT Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports

Will the Phillies be able to reel in either of their big fish this offseason?

The Phillies' 2018 season is over. 

Their loss to the Braves Saturday eliminated them from the NL East race — a race they were firmly in control of not too long ago.

After the collapse, the page turns to 2019. What will the front office do? Will they flex their financial muscles and chase after the biggest free agent prizes? Who is on the chopping block?

Here's a brief look at a few circulating rumors as the season inches toward its official close.

Trade block

Almost no one is safe. According to a report — mostly pontificating — from FOX's Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies are “open to trading” everyone on the roster, aside from slugger Rhys Hoskins and ace Aaron Nola.

That means Odubel Herrera. That means Jake Arrieta (though his contract may be too big to move). That means Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco. 

“According to a source, the Phils will be open to trading anyone but Aaron Nola or Rhys Hoskins, though of course some trades would be more likely than others. Unlikely? A trade of Carlos Santana to reopen first for Hoskins. That would be an admission by the Phils that they never should have signed Santana in the first place.”

Carlos Santana

As mentioned above, Santana's departure would be welcomed after he has hit just .230 this year (even with 106 walks). With the outfield boasting talent like Herrera, Roman Quinn and others, having Hoskins as the every day first baseman could be a smart move heading into next year.

Can they get out of the $17.5 million they owe him in each of the next two years? Here's an excerpt from a story by Jim Salisbury written last week:

"According to sources, Phillies officials have at least discussed the idea of improving their outfield defense by trading Carlos Santana and moving Hoskins back to first base, which would create a spot in left field for Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley, who could be knocking on the door by the middle of next summer. Getting Hoskins some time at first base down the stretch might be a harbinger of this."

The big guns

And now the rumors you've all been waiting for — can the Phillies land Bryce Harper or Manny Machado this winter?

According to Jon Heyman from Fancred.com, the team may actually be a leading candidate to sign both.

Multiple rival executives suggested they believe it’s quite possible the Phillies land not one – but both – superstar free agents this winter. Of the more than 10 executives contacted this week, though the question was about who’d get the bigger deal between outfielder Bryce Harper and infielder Manny Machado, a few volunteered that they believed Philly could sign both players. They have been connected to both players in recent years, and despite a few free agent signings last winter, they still have a relatively small amount of money committed to future contracts, which seems to position them for a potentially monster winter.

The Phils, fairly recently, signed a monster 10-year TV deal and one of the owners, John Middletown, has been outspoken about his desire to spend some money to get competitive again. They did that — to an extent — with Arrieta and Santana, but spending this offseason would appear to be the next logical step toward building a team that can again win multiple NL East titles.


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