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January 02, 2019

Report: Phillies planning to meet with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas next week

Sometimes, timing is everything. 

Just minutes after publishing our latest Phillies free agency update post, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury dropped an update of his own, one that required a separate post. And it involves Bryce Harper.

After meeting with agent Scott Boras in Las Vegas during the Winter Meetings, the Phillies have secured a second meeting, with the actual player, next week in Harper's hometown of Las Vegas.

Even while they negotiate with Machado, the Phillies remain interested in outfielder Bryce Harper, the other megastar on this winter’s free-agent market. In fact, a person close to the player tells NBC Sports Philadelphia that a face-to-face meeting between Harper and Phillies officials is being planned for “the next week or so,” in Harper’s hometown of Las Vegas. Phillies officials met with Harper’s representative, Scott Boras, at the winter meetings in Las Vegas last month. The player was not in attendance at that meeting.  []

That's interesting enough on its own as reports have suggested that the Dodgers are the current favorites to land Harper. And there was another report earlier on Wednesday that the Phillies were one of two teams willing to offer up a deal of at 10 years. 

But the Phillies still remain focused on Manny Machado, who they could have to pry away from the Yankees in order to sign.

Machado remains the Phillies’ primary focus, but competition for him is stern. The Yankees are high on Machado and he is high on playing for them — he has been for a long time. The Yanks could even offer Machado a chance to play shortstop, his favorite position, for a good chunk of the coming season as Didi Gregorius recovers from elbow surgery. The Yanks have signed veteran infielder Troy Tulowitzki. The signing is seen as inexpensive insurance should the team fail to sign Machado. It also could be a negotiating signal to Machado that the Yankees won’t wait forever.

The Phillies like the idea of using Machado at third base and would probably have to significantly outbid the Yankees to land him. The Phillies have been gearing for this offseason for years and have the resources to do just that — if Machado would say yes to their offer.  []

For all the latest, make sure to check out our live free agency post, here.

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