Which teams will be able to land Bryce Harper, Manny Machado or both?
Two of the MLB’s biggest stars, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, are still free agents, but why?
Could it be the enormous contracts and long term commitment they’re seeking? Is it a hold out from the players? Or is it the uncertainty of what each star brings to an MLB organization outside of the players performance ability? Teams like the Yankees, Phillies, White Sox, Padres and Dodgers have all been rumored as potential landing spots for Harper and Machado.
When the Boston Red Sox won the World Series last season against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 28, it was only a matter of days before All-Star Manny Machado posted his “Thank you LA” post on Instagram. This post seemed to be a thank you, but also a goodbye to the Dodgers as they lost the World Series for a second straight year.
The Dodgers deemed their trade for Machado “essential” in hopes of winning the World Series, but even he couldn’t lead them to beat the Red Sox. . Immediately after his post, the floodgates opened for rumors, and it wasn’t long before the New York Yankees were reported as the team to land the Gold Glove third baseman.
It seemed as if out of the two star free agents, Machado would be the first to make his decision. This decision may have happened at the beginning of 2019. However, it has since been tweeted by MLB.com’s Jon Morosi that “Manny Machado’s decision is not yet imminent.” This may suggest it could be a long time before Machado makes up his mind.
However, there is a big question mark surrounding Machado. Are his mindset and attitude too much to handle for an organization? His actions in this past season made headlines when he would not run through the bases, stepped on the ankle of first baseman Jesus Aguilar and demanded a historic new contract.
Bryce Harper has played for the Washington Nationals since he was drafted as the 17-year-old phenom from Las Vegas. USA Today reported Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner did not feel confident in resigning Harper in December. It is believed Harper will be able to sign what could be the richest and biggest contract in MLB history.
Harper has the speed, the arm, the bat and the competitiveness of all the greats and could undoubtedly join any team and make them drastically better. About a week ago, leaked photos and reports from Twitter came out that Bryce Harper was about to have his physical and fly out to Philadelphia and be announced as a member of the Phillies. There was even a picture of a SportsCenter backdrop that had a template titled “Bryce Harper headed to Philadelphia.” It is unknown exactly what happened in this situation or the validity of the reports received. However, those rumors got brushed off quickly when San Diego Padres officials met Harper at his home in Las Vegas on Jan. 31, Washington Post and others reported.
The final week of January came the most chatter and buzz as the Padres came as a late addition to the free agent rumors. They are also trying to land Machado if they do not land Harper. The Padres desperately need a third baseman, but signing Harper would strengthen the weak corners of their outfield.
I believe Machado would be a better fit, as the third base spot is crucial at the moment for the Padres. Not to mention Machado could use the short outfield walls at Petco Park to his advantage. I do not see Harper strongly considering the Padres because he has made it clear he wants to win a World Series before he is too old, and it doesn’t seem like the Padres are there yet.
On the other hand, Machado came to the Dodgers to get his ring, but left to pursue a megadeal like Stanton’s. . Since he has yet to get such a megadeal, there is a chance he will take a smaller deal with a real contender. I rule the Padres out as serious contenders to sign either of the free agents.
I believed the Dodgers and owner Magic Johnson were going to pull off a bit of magic and sign Harper, but with the trade and signing of A.J. Pollock, I don’t believe the Dodgers will go after Harper. I am ruling the Dodgers out of signing Harper and Machado, and the Yankees out of signing Harper. However, I believe there is still a chance the Yankees can pull a big signing and get Machado, In typical Yankees “buy the pennant” fashion.
In my opinion, it comes down to the Chicago White Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies. If someone were to ask me a week ago where I thought these two baseball giants would be, I would have given a different answer. Neither the White Sox nor the Phillies can afford to sign both of the big name free agents, but I believe that either player could go to a single team. I think the Phillies will be the lucky winners in acquiring Harper; however, if a deal does not get finalized, Harper could decide to re-sign with the Nationals. If it is not the Yankees picking up Machado, I believe it will be the other American League team, the Chicago White Sox, landing Machado. The White Sox are believed to have a lot of potential, and a big name is something they will need to be competitive.