Going into the offseason, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado were believed to be the most sought-after free agents in years and were expected to sign 10-year contracts north of $300 million.
Negotiations for either haven’t gone as planned though as pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training without either star having signed a contract.
That would not be the case if they were willing to take short-term deals, but both Harper and Machado are still holding out in hopes that they receive that long-term lucrative offer.
It appears that Harper may finally be close to getting it. According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, Harper may be on the verge of signing a with the Philadelphia Phillies, as they are believed to be the favorites to land the six-time All-Star:
Things are heating up with Harper. Intensified is the word I heard. Phillies are the favorite, but word remains that nothing’s done yet. Will be a long-term deal.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 17, 2019
If the Phillies are able to sign Harper, it would put the exclamation point on an outstanding offseason for them. They have already acquired Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson and J.T. Realmuto via trade or free agency.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the teams that showed interest in Harper at the beginning of the offseason if he was willing to sign a short-term deal.
But since signing A.J. Pollock, the Dodgers have less of a need for an outfielder. Additionally, signing Harper would put the Dodgers over the luxury tax threshold, which all of their actions this winter have indicated that ownership is unwilling to do.
The Phillies are one of the teams that are also interested in Machado, so if they sign Harper then Machado signing with another team like the Chicago White Sox or San Diego Padres could come shortly after.