Manny Machado
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Report: Phillies upping their offer for Manny Machado

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Phillies have increased their trade offer for Orioles shortstop Manny Machado. The specifics of any potential deal have not been released, obviously, but the Phillies are said to be willing to part with minor league pitching depth from Low-A ball up to Triple-A. Of particular interest are right-handers Adonis Medina (no. 2 prospect in the Phillies’ system) and Sixto Sanchez (no. 1 prospect), though the club appears reluctant to part with the latter.

The asking price will remain high for 26-year-old Machado, who will enter next week’s competition as a four-time All-Star and who is currently slashing a career-high .316/.385/.573 with 23 home runs and a .957 OPS through 403 PA in 2018. He’s due for a big payday when he enters free agency this fall, but until then, the Orioles are expected to try to get whatever they can for their star infielder at the trade deadline this month.

Per Rosenthal, the Dodgers and Yankees are still the favorites for Machado’s services, with the Phillies falling toward the middle of the pack, the Diamondbacks on the fringes, and the Brewers “fading away.” No one team appears to be closing in on a deal, however, and there are still several weeks to go before the July 31 deadline. Jon Heyman of Fancred suggests that the Phillies are also eying Orioles closer Zach Britton as part of a package deal with Machado, with the feeling that they’d like to “make a big splash” as they enter the second half of the season.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.