The Phillies met with Bryce Harper at his Las Vegas home for five hours Saturday and now have distanced themselves from the pack of his pursuers. Matt Breen of Philly.com wrote that the Phillies are optimistic about landing either Harper or Manny Machado, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Sunday that the Phillies are now the clear-cut favorite to sign Harper.
Breen wrote that it seemed as if the Phillies preferred Machado because of their desire to bolster the infield. But if Harper’s market became too good to pass on, Philly could very well dish out their money to Harper instead.
The Phillies and Nationals have had the most recent activity with Harper over the last week, with his former team possibly upping their initial $300 million offer in a big way. As Nightengale’s reported, though, some believe the Nationals are “quickly fading” from the Harper sweepstakes. OddsShark gives the Phillies the best odds of signing Harper (even), whereas the Nationals are third in the money line at +400. Guess where the Cubs are? Second at +300.
You’d think the market would start moving faster for the two superstars in the next week or so, but who knows at this point. We’re less than a month away from players checking into their spring training facilities and the majority of the free agent pool as yet to sign. All it might take is one domino to fall, though. And now that Philly has met personally with Harper and Machado in the last month, maybe that’ll push both parties to make a decision.