The latest MLB (Major League Baseball) rumors have Bryce Harper “out of the running” for signing as a free agent with the Oakland Athletics, and place him close to a deal with the Phillies. Meanwhile, third baseman Manny Machado is reportedly close to inking a deal with the Padres.
As MLB Trade Rumors notes, Britt Ghiroli, staff writer for the Athletic, has been “dropping nuggets” that point towards Bryce Harper’s future with the Nationals, and the long and the short of it is this — Ghiroli suggests that Harper is “out of the running” for signing with Nats. However, Ghiroli also cautions that nothing is certain.
Meanwhile, MLB Trade Rumors writer Jeff Todd suggests that Harper may be closing in on a deal with the Washington Nationals.
“Nats ownership and agent Scott Boras have a well-established knack for finding a way to line up on big contracts.”
Not so fast, says NJ Advanced Media sports writer Mike Rosenstein. He’s got scoop that says Harper is close to signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. He cites MLB Network Radio’s Jim Bowden.
“We’re now getting multiple sources [that] are hearing the same thing… [that Harper is probably very close to a deal with the Phillies]… I think we’ll know for sure by Friday.”
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 17, 2019
However, Bowden hedged his bet — just a little — by saying that it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the Nationals, Yankees, or White Sox could swoop in at the last minute with a better offer for Harper.
Rosenstein puts four teams in contention for signing the third baseman: the White Sox, the Phillies, the Padres, and the Nationals. Analyses from various MLB reporters are all over the place, and depending on whom you ask, Machado is close to signing a deal with all four teams.
Athletic writer Ken Rosenthal wrote on Twitter that the White Sox are, of the four teams, the most interested in Machado.
“WhiteSox remain strong factor along with #Padres in Machado sweepstakes, sources tell The Athletic. Machado is said to be first choice of both front offices and preference of #Phillies’ front office as well, though ownerships in SD and PHI might not see it as convincingly.”
Meanwhile, MLB Network writer Jon Heyman posted a message on Twitter claiming that the Padres and Phillies are both making serious offers for Harper and Machado — offering hundreds of millions to both men, but slightly more to Harper.
UPDATE: ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote a Twitter post at 12:24 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday that Machado has signed with the Padres, according to unidentified “league sources.”
Editor’s note: a previous version of this story misidentified Oakland as a potential destination for Bryce Harper.