Two of baseball's biggest stars remain free agents with spring training just about to open, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is hoping they'll be signed before then.
Speaking at the owners' meetings in Orlando, Manfred said, "Obviously, we want our star players signed and ready to go when we start playing," according to USA Today.
Just as players like J.D. Martinez had to wait until late February to sign last year, Harper and Machado have yet to get the big paydays they've been expecting.
At the owners' meetings on Thursday, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner wouldn't shut the door on the possibility of signing either Harper or Machado, telling reporters he "wouldn't be surprised" to spend significant money before the 2019 season begins.
The Phillies have been linked to both Harper and Machado, and the signing of either could impact the power balance in the NL East.
Manfred also indicated that the designated hitter won't be implemented in the National League this season, confirming what SNY's Andy Martino reported earlier this week, and it won't be coming anytime soon.
USA Today reports that the earliest the NL would see the DH would be the 2022 season, with the collective bargaining agreement expiring at the end of 2021.