General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. updated Chase Utley’s status yesterday, although there really wasn’t a whole lot to update.
Amaro told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that Utley “is moving forward” with his rehab from chronic knee problems and “his strength seems to be improving.”
However, there’s still no timetable for Utley’s return and so far there isn’t even any talk of him seeing game action at extended spring training.
Utley and the Phillies haven’t exactly been forthcoming about his status throughout all this, but his being able to simply workout again without significant discomfort is a positive development at the very least.
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.