With right around a month until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, the two biggest players still available in free agency, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, have yet to find new homes.
Big-market teams that stayed below the luxury tax threshold in 2018 like the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees were expected to be in the running for both stars. But as the offseason has gone by, neither has seemed to be willing to dole out the 10-year contract Harper and Machado are searching for.
Because of that, teams like the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox have been the most aggressive suitors. The Phillies, in particular, have not hidden their interest in both Harper and Machado.
Now with potential signings presumed to be just around the corner, the Phillies have confidence they will manage to land one of the two superstars, per Matt Breen of Philly.com:
The Phillies, according to a source, remain optimistic that they will end the offseason with either Harper or Machado on their roster.
The Dodgers have not shown much interest in re-signing Machado, but they have been linked to Harper if he would be willing to take a short-term contract.
One other team to look out for in the Harper sweepstakes is the Washington Nationals. It was recently reported there was ‘momentum building’ towards Harper re-signing with the team that drafted him.
If that is the case then the Phillies could become more aggressive in their pursuit of Machado, likely leaving the White Sox without either of the two.
With the Dodgers recently trading for catcher Russell Martin, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his staff can now shift their focus towards addressing other needs of the team like second base and outfield.
While Haprer and Machado are obviously the top position players remaining on the free agent and trade markets, there are other solid, cheaper options still available as well.