Depending on how much you are willing to believe the rumors reported, it seems that now there are clear players in what appears to be the best of the three-team races for the best free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
For Harper, USA TodayBob Nightengale is reporting that the Philadelphia Phillies met the midfielder for five hours on Saturday, and "emerged as the favorite" to sign it. It is expected to make a formal offer this week. The Phillies seem to be by far the most serious team in the running – unless Harper returns to the "long-shot" offer of the Nationals for 10 years / 300 million dollars – because the Yankees seem to have lost interest in the free agents The White Sox focused entirely on Manny Machado.
And especially if Harper goes to Philadelphia, the White Sox could be in a prime position to sign their number one target. Jeff Passan reported on Sunday evening that the Sox had offered Machado an offer of 8 years / $ 250 million. While that would be by far the most important contract in the history of the franchise, it is also well below the $ 300 million that Machado would look for. However, Machado camp may not have much in the way of negotiating leverage. The Yankees talks with Machado, according to Buster Olney, are "either they are dormant or completely dead". So, unless the Phillies are willing to give big contracts to both Harper and Machado – which remains a possibility, USA Today He says that he leaves the Sox as the number one team by default.
Simply put, excluding the return of Harper to D.C. or the true impact of a "Mysterious Squad" which may or may not only exist as a negotiating ploy, this certainly now appears to be a two-horse race, with the Phillies in the best position for Harper while he might even try to compete again with the White Sox for Machado. Of course, any other MLB team can decide to jump and become the highest bidder whenever they want. But unfortunately none of them cares enough to actually do it.