Nationals and Cubs “stepping up pursuit of Brandon Webb”

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According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com the Nationals and Cubs “are stepping up their pursuit of Brandon Webb” and “making a big push” to sign the former Cy Young winner amid interest from “several other clubs.”

Washington has been linked to Webb since the moment he became a free agent and Chicago’s interest was first reported a couple weeks ago.

It’ll be interesting to see if Webb can parlay multiple teams being in the mix for him into a bidding war that ultimately gets him a big chunk of guaranteed money despite his last start coming on Opening Day of 2009.

When healthy Webb was an elite starter, finishing first or second in the Cy Young balloting from 2006-2008, but he hasn’t been “right” since the first half of 2008 and the early reports on his velocity following shoulder surgery weren’t very encouraging.

Report: Padres have made offers to both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper

Manny Machado
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Jon Heyman has been hot on the free agent trail today, reporting that the Padres have made offers both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The offer to Machado is believed to be for eight years and about $250 million, while the offer to Harper is believed to be for more than that.

Heyman was reporting on Harper earlier, tweeting that the Phillies are the favorite to sign him. He added this evening that Harper has multiple long-term offers at more than $30 million annually. Regarding Machado, Heyman noted that while Machado was believed to have had a preference for the East coast, he will go for the best deal now, which puts the Padres firmly in the picture.

The Padres reportedly met with Machado last week. A late entrant into the sweepstakes, the club has shown the willingness to spend, signing Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract last year. If he goes to San Diego, Machado would be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop.

Nothing appears close, but we’ll take anything resembling a spark to light the hot stove.