Phillies reportedly set to make next move in Bryce Harper sweepstakes with face-to-face meeting originally appeared on nbcsportschicago.com
As the White Sox remain in on both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, one of their chief competitors is making another move to up its chances.
According to a report from NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, the Philadelphia Phillies are planning a face-to-face meeting with Harper in Las Vegas. The White Sox have reportedly had a couple of those already, including one in November involving Hall of Famer Jim Thome and one last month during the Winter Meetings. The Phillies generated much chatter when it was reported that they didn’t sit down with Harper during the Winter Meetings. According to Salisbury, they did meet with Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, when the baseball world descended on Sin City.
The Phillies were the last stop on Machado’s free-agent tour a few weeks back, a circuit that began with the White Sox on the South Side. These two seem to be the only clubs vying for both Harper and Machado. The Phillies, per Salisbury, count Machado as their primary focus, which is perhaps not a surprise as he is expected to make his decision prior to Harper’s.
But the White Sox and Phillies have an awful lot in common in these pursuits. They both have a ton of financial flexibility and could wind up the highest bidders. ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote Wednesday that both teams are willing to guarantee Harper a 10-year deal. Of course, it was the Phillies’ owner who launched speculation of a high-spending winter for his team when he said it might spend “stupid.” And while the Los Angeles Dodgers (linked to Harper) and the New York Yankees (linked to Machado) might be more logical and/or enticing options, they’ve been reportedly unwilling to offer the type of gargantuan contract the White Sox and Phillies have been reportedly willing to offer.
The Phillies have slightly more recent success to pitch to both 26-year-old superstars after making big strides in their rebuilding project in 2018, spending time in first place in the competitive NL East prior to a second-half slide. But the White Sox have perhaps a brighter long-term future and can pitch these guys on playing alongside Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease and Luis Robert for much of the next decade. Rick Hahn believes that pitch is as good as any and said the White Sox have received positive feedback on that message.
Who knows if the White Sox have further plans for wooing Harper, but the Phillies are taking another crack at trying to convince him to come to the City of Brotherly Love.