Christmas is around the corner, which means that the Baseball Hot Stove has moved into a holding pattern. In a few days, no moves were made, and the decisions of the best Free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado appear to be no closer than a week or two ago.
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Of course, the lack of signatures and trades does not mean that the rumor mills have stopped rolling or that new interesting information has not reached the surface. In fact, on Wednesday there was a fascinating new report that could strongly suggest that Harper and Machado do not want to sign this winter.
Bad News, Philadelphia
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado seem to have disregarded the possibility of a signature at the Philadelphia Phillies.
In a short excerpt several paragraphs were buried deep in his Wednesday column. Sherman wrote: "Neither player likes Philadelphia and both I would have preferred the Yankees, who showed little interest in Harper.
It's a vague report that does not really tell us how, why, or when Philadelphia got out of hand with both camps. Machado met with the Phillies last week, and there was no indication at the time that he did not want to be there.
It has been reported that both Harper and Machado have their preferences. Recently, Harper liked a post that suggested going to the Los Angeles Dodgers, which strengthened the feeling that he would prefer to move west. By now, it was felt that Machado was most enthusiastic during his visit to the New York Yankees, leading many to believe that New York would be his future home.
The Phillies remained on the short list of believed teams in the best position to sign Harper and Machado. This is partly due to the "stupid" money they have to spend, their clear interest in both players, and what we believe was a clear interest from both players in Philadelphia.
That makes this single sentence of Sherman's column an eye-catcher. Almost exactly, this is a potential game changer.
Why Harper and Machado's Options May Be Limited
The other interesting layer of Sherman's column is that Harper and Machado's list of realistic options without Philadelphia would become even thinner.
Both players are looking for long-term deals, perhaps up to ten seasons and worth at least $ 300 million. The Phillies are among a handful of teams that can spend this money. More importantly, they are part of a smaller group that is actually willing to spend that kind of money. Sherman notes that there is no guarantee that the Yankees or Dodgers will spend so much money this winter, especially if they do not believe they need to do so.
The Yankees and Dodgers seem to have the most influence because they know the requirements for both players have not gone through the roof. Both teams do not necessarily need an elite racquet. You have both loaded rosters. To the point that Yankees CEO Brian Cashman has already stated that there is no real place for Harper in his line-up.
Both teams will compete next season with or without Harper and Machado. Both teams also have other areas to improve and to consider other options for free agents and traders that would best position them from 2019 and beyond. Maybe that's all the Chicago White Sox hopes for now, though it's hard to say if their offer can be tempting enough.
Sherman suggests the circumstances around Harper and Machado's free agency could force either of them to choose a different approach.
<p class = "Canvas Atom Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "" But the other choice especially for Harper, is intriguing, "Sherman writes, because even if the Dodgers refuse to offer the mega deal, it's one thing to land there best for Harper and – this should not be important to the Slugger – the game." "data-reactid =" 77 "> " But the other choice, especially for Harper, is intriguing, "writes Sherman. Because even if the Dodgers refuse to offer the mega-deal, landing for four years is best for Harper and – this should not matter to the Slugger – the game.
This proposal would not have been realistic a few years ago. Considering how the free-agent landscape has changed the last two winters, maybe everything is possible here.
The biggest question this winter was how high the deals would be for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Now it may actually matter how much money one or both are willing to give up to achieve a preferred goal.
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