MLB free agency: Will anyone sign Harper and Machado? Phillies, Padres, White Sox remain as top contenders for the two all-stars

Joshua Evans, Sports Writer

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With catchers and pitchers reporting for spring training in the next two weeks, two of the league’s biggest stars are still on the open market. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are both consistent all stars and it’s a shock that both are free agents this late into the MLB offseason.
 
Bryce Harper
 
The 2015 NL MVP is still without a home in early February. There’s almost no question Harper could still be a dynamic player, but many teams are questioning his request for a record-breaking contract. Some analysts have estimated that his contract could be worth over $400 million. A few possible landing spots include The Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres or Washington Nationals.

Harper reportedly went to Philadelphia last week to meet with the Phillies and they are “highly interested” in getting him. The Phillies are on the cusp of being a playoff team and have plenty of “stupid” money to get him.  

The Yankees were the only playoff team on this list last year and have the biggest market in baseball. The Yankees also have no issue acquiring players with high requests, as last offseason they signed Giancarlo Stanton for a record 325 million dollars.  

The Padres also met with Bryce Harper earlier this week and the organization has expressed that they prefer Harper over Machado and it was reported that the GM of the Padres seemed “extremely prepared and seemed sincere about wooing” Harper. He would be an icon in the city of San Diego since they’re the only sports team in the city now.

The final option would be his former team the Washington Nationals, but I suspect that would be a “worst case scenario” for Harper, since he already declined a $300 million deal.  

One downside to Harper is last year’s performance especially during the Summer, where he had 23 strikeouts and just one home run during a 15-game stretch. I still believe that Harper is a generational talent when he is at his best and that he would be an upgrade to almost any ball club.
 
My prediction:
 
Harper to the San Diego Padres for a record breaking 10 year 400-million-dollar contract.

Manny Machado
 
Manny Machado has been a perennial all-star player for the Orioles and the Dodgers for several years and similarly to Bryce Harper, would be an upgrade for many major league teams. What teams are interested in Machado? The Chicago White Sox, the San Diego Padres, and the Phillies, which are the teams that also want Machado.  

Again, The Phillies have more than enough money to get Machado even with the huge three year $50 million signing of Andrew McCutchen over the offseason. If the Phillies fail to pick up Bryce Harper, they would almost be forced to sign Machado.  

 The Padres also have shown interest for Manny Machado, for similar reasons as Bryce Harper. They also have an immediate need for a third baseman. I believe the Padres have their eyes set on Harper as their first choice though.

The Chicago White Sox are another huge market for Machado. They have a lot of money free past 2020 and beyond. If the team finds current shortstop Tim Anderson’s inconsistency at bat an issue, then I’m sure they would be open to trading him away and replacing him with Machado.  

There are a few downsides for Machado. He has a very short temper and he has made some questionable and even very poor decisions on the field in recent years. He can be a great asset to a team, but his lack of filter and his attitude can be a liability for almost any big-league franchise.  

 My prediction:

Machado to the Philadelphia Phillies with a ten-year 325-million-dollar contract.