Now that Manny Machado has agreed to sign a megadeal with the Padres, the Phillies have lost out on their first choice as they aim to spend "stupid money." Their second choice is Bryce Harper, but landing him isn't a sure thing.
"Although their pursuit of him is serious, word around Harper is that he remains unsure if he wants to play in Philadelphia," reports SNY's Andy Martino, who says the Phillies must convince him to sign there if they want to "save face."
Martino adds that Harper's inconsistency and defensive decline has scared off many suitors, including the Yankees.
With Machado joining the Padres on a deal that will reportedly pay him $300 million over 10 years, it seems the only suitors left for Harper are the Phillies, Nationals, Giants, and White Sox.
When it comes to the Giants, reports have indicated they're only willing to do something with Harper if it's short-term -- something it's hard to see Harper agreeing to now that Machado has gotten 10 years.
When it comes to the White Sox, executive vice president Kenny Williams told reporters Tuesday after the Machado news broke that he was shocked since he felt Chicago had made the highest offer. Williams then added that spending $300 million on Machado "wasn't feasible" since the team needs to put together a total roster.
If the above bears out, it seems the Harper sweepstakes will come down to the Phillies and Nationals -- though something Phillies GM Matt Klentak said on Tuesday about the Machado deal should give Phillies fans pause.
"If the reports are true, this contract will exceed our valuation," he said, according to Matt Gelb of The Athletic. "Sometimes you have to walk away."
If Machado was the Phillies' first choice and $300 million was too much, what is their offer to Harper?
Harper turned down the Nats' 10-year, $300 million offer during the season, but GM Mike Rizzo said Monday during an appearance on the MLB Network that the team had not ruled out bringing Harper back.
So, is it the Nats or the Phillies? Or will 'Mystery Team' make an appearance before this saga ends?