According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Phillies will make a formal offer to free agent outfielder Bryce Harper within a week of their meeting in Las Vegas. The two sides came together for a five-hour meeting on Saturday, which was reportedly attended by Harper’s wife, Kayla, as well as agent Scott Boras, club owner John Middleton, president Andy MacPhail, GM Matt Klentak, assistant GM Ned Rice, and skipper Gabe Kapler. While few details were divulged in Nightengale’s report, whatever was said behind closed doors clearly gave the Phillies some indication that Harper would be receptive to any future offer they might make.
That falls into line with a recent report from Matt Breen of Philly.com, who suggested that the Phillies “remain optimistic” that they’ll sign either Harper or fellow free agent Manny Machado before the offseason officially comes to a close. Of the two, Harper may be closer to inking a deal, as other suitors like the Nationals and White Sox don’t appear to have made any significant progress in negotiations with the slugger over the last week or so.
Machado, meanwhile, is still said to be courted by the White Sox, Phillies, and an as-yet undisclosed mystery team. While the hot-hitting infielder was recently connected to the Yankees after a meeting in December, ESPN’s Buster Olney claims that any serious talks between the two are “either dormant or completely dead” at this point. The White Sox may yet emerge as the frontrunner to land Machado, though they’re reportedly offering a long-term deal in the neighborhood of $200 million — about $100 million less than the All-Star is rumored to be seeking.