The markets for the two top names on the free-agent market seemed thin past the White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. But it sounds like, as these sweepstakes are about to drag into February, you can add the San Diego Padres to the list of teams pursuing both 26-year-old superstars.
According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Padres are going to meet with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas. This after their interest in Manny Machado was reported last week.
#Padres officials meeting today or tomorrow with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas, sources tell The Athletic. Meeting expected to include ownership representatives.2,8215:35 PM – Jan 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy1,325 people are talking about this
The Padres are in a very similar position to the White Sox and will likely be pitching the same future-focused vision to Harper and Machado. They have arguably the best farm system in the game, headlined by Fernando Tatis Jr., the No. 2 prospect in baseball who the White Sox dealt to the Padres in exchange for James Shields back in 2016. For comparison, the White Sox have six players ranked on MLB Pipeline’s recently updated list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. The Padres have 10.
The Padres just signed a big-name free agent last offseason, bringing in former Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer on an eight-year deal worth more than $140 million. But outside of Hosmer and Wil Myers, the team has little in the way of long-term financial commitments, not unlike the White Sox.
The Padres were only a handful of games better than the White Sox during the 2018 season, with a 66-96 record, finishing last in the always competitive NL West. So they are in a similar position when it comes to pitching the ability to be an immediate contender.
It’s been reported that Machado will likely accept the richest contract offer, so who knows if the Padres will offer something bigger than what the White Sox reportedly have: a deal seven years in length worth $175 million.
But it’s been all quiet on the Harper front of late, with the biggest uproar stemming from a trolling tweet from a video game earlier this week. According to Rosenthal, though, Harper and his high-powered agent, Scott Boras, have met with a number of teams recently.
#Padres officials meeting today or tomorrow with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas, sources tell The Athletic. Meeting expected to include ownership representatives.
Harper and/or his agent, Scott Boras, have met with a number of clubs in recent days, including second and third meetings in some cases, sources say. No indication a deal is close.Ken Rosenthal✔@Ken_Rosenthal#Padres officials meeting today or tomorrow with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas, sources tell The Athletic. Meeting expected to include ownership representatives.5445:38 PM – Jan 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy413 people are talking about this
The White Sox reportedly had two meetings with Harper in Las Vegas during the final months of 2018: one in November that reportedly featured Hall of Famer Jim Thome and another during the Winter Meetings in December. Are the White Sox one of the teams to meet for a third time?
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Harper sweepstakes is a four- or five-team race involving the White Sox, Phillies, Padres and Washington Nationals, who have reportedly had at least one contract offer rejected by Harper.
Bryce Harper has four active suitors as February nears, source confirms: #Nationals, #Phillies, #WhiteSox, and now #Padres. At least one other team remains involved on periphery, but overwhelming likelihood is he will sign with one of those four clubs. @MLB @MLBNetwork1,4496:30 PM – Jan 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy644 people are talking about this
There still seems to be no end in sight for either of these derbies, and a team like the Padres getting into them this late in the offseason shows it could still drag on as more suitors pop up. The White Sox, of course, are still in the mix until they aren’t. Stay tuned.