As the 2018 season was unfolding, anticipation continued to build over what was expected to be a deep free agency class with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado serving as the headliners. It was reduced in some regard by Clayton Kershaw agreeing to an extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Granted, it was not a guarantee anyhow that Kershaw would reach the open market as he held a player option for the remaining two years on his previous deal. Meanwhile, Harper reportedly rejected a 10-year contract from the Washington Nationals in favor of becoming a free agent.
As for Machado, a trade to the Dodgers all but cemented he would reach the open market at season’s end, and he’d do so without a qualifying offer attached to him. Interest in the 26-year-old was a bit tempered as the Winter Meetings began this week.
Machado has worked to repair his image that took hits over questionable plays during the postseason and comments about not being a ‘Johnny Hustle’ type of player.
Nevertheless, Machado does have a handful of suitors and is expected to meet with the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, per Jon Heyman of Fancred:
Yanks, White Sox and Phillies are 3 teams that will meet with Manny Machado. The 3 alleged mystery teams remain so.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2018
The Phillies and Yankees were also mentioned as potential landing spots for Harper, but Philadelphia agreed to a three-year contract with Andrew McCutchen, and New York general manager Brian Cashman all but ruled out the possibility of adding another outfielder to their roster.
The two teams have been among those connected most often to Machado. Though, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner admitted he and the organization had questions and come concern about his comments.
Although there are unknown teams with interest in Machado, it’s unlikely that the Dodgers would be part of that group. Whether they would make the long-term financial commitment is a question in and of itself, but the club is also anticipating the return of Corey Seager.