In what is perhaps going to be the pivotal moment of their off-season, the brain-trust of the Philadelphia Phillies will reportedly be flying out to Las Vegas on Saturday to meet with free agent outfielder Bryce Harper and his agent, Scott Boras.
Bob Nightengale at USA Today reports that Phillies owner John Middleton will be among those in attendance for the team. Middleton stated at the start of this off-season that he might be willing to “get a little bit stupid” in spending money. He may be about to do just that.
The Phillies contingent will also certainly include General Manager Matt Klentak and President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail.
Klentak has already signed a pair of free agents in outfielder Andrew McCutchen and relief pitcher David Robertson. In a pair of trades, he has brought in shortstop Jean Segura and a trio of relief pitchers.
Completely speculative on my part, but this aggressive move on Harper could very well signal that the Phillies feel they are going to lose out in their pursuit of infielder Manny Machado.
It has been believed that Machado was favored by the team when considering the two young free agent superstars. It has always been known that the New York Yankees are Machado’s long-time dream team, and that he was likely to end up in the Bronx, as long as the financial considerations were right.
At the Winter Meetings, which were held in Vegas back in early December, Klentak met with Boras. That meeting was likely to express the sincerity of the Phillies interest and perhaps to lay out some basic negotiating parameters on both sides. Harper was not present at that meeting.
There have been recent reports that Harper’s former team, the division-rival Washington Nationals, were willing to go substantially over what had been an initial 10-year, $300 million contract offer. It is also known that Harper has already met with representatives of both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.
With spring training camps scheduled to open a little more than a month from now, it should not be long before there is some final resolution on both the Harper and Machado situations. The meeting this coming Saturday could be the Phillies last, best chance to bring home one of the two.
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- It may take a $300 million offer for Phillies to land Machado
- As Phillies continue pursuits of Harper and Machado, the best we have is conjecture
- Phillies sign free agent reliever David Robertson