The Philadelphia Phillies remain in a strong position to sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. And in fact, they remain optimistic that they will, although it is not clear how much longer the wait could be praised.
Machado has been the manager's favorite since the start of the offseason, thanks to his combination of offense and defense, but Harper also has his fans inside the organization.
According to various sources, Harper made a tremendous impression when he met in person with the Phillies staff a couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas. The club manager, Gable Kapler, has said a couple of times in public that he enjoyed talking to the slugger.
Three weeks remain until position players report to spring training and little has changed the last month. The #Phillies still are the heavy favorites for Harper and the #Whitesox for Machado while everyone awaits to see who blinks first on the final pricetag.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 28, 2019
But, apparently, neither Harper's agent, Scott Boras, nor Machado's, Dan Lozano, have yet seen an offer of those that can not be rejected. It is believed that both are looking for record contracts.
For the Phillies, the faster they sign one of the two, the better. If they sign Machado, they will probably try to change third baseman Maikel Franco. If they sign Harper, they would try to move an outfielder like Nick Williams or the Venezuelan Odúbel Herrera.
The longer the Phillies have to change one of those players, the better.
On the other hand, once Machado or Harper sign, the Phillies could better assess the rest of the landscape in free agency. Will left-hander Dallas Keuchel, closer Craig Kimbrel or third baseman Mike Moustakas remain available? If so, will their prices have gone down? The Phillies are not going to make more moves until they see what happens with Machado or Harper.
The quicker these two superstars sign, the better for everyone.
Todd Zolecki MLB.com