As the baseball world awaits for Manny Machado’s decision on where he will be playing next season, the Philadelphia Phillies are turning their attention towards superstar outfielder Bryce Harper.
According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Phillies are planning to meet with Harper in Las Vegas within the next week or so. The MLB scribe also mentioned that the Phils met with Harper’s agent Scott Boras at the winter meetings last month, where held in Vegas. The 26-year-old outfielder, however, was not at those talks.
This latest piece of info comes on the heels of ESPN’s Jeff Passan reporting on Wednesday that the Phillies along with the Chicago White Sox are willing to give Harper a decade-plus long contract.
However, word out of Chicago is that the White Sox will not give Harper nor Machado an offer of more than seven years per Bruce Levine of 670 The Score. Earlier this offseason, Chelsea James of the Washington Post reported that Harper turned down a 10-year, $300 million extension offer from the Washington Nationals on the last day of the 2018 regular season.
If this is the case, then it appears that the Phillies are in the hypothetical driver’s seat to land the 26-year-old superstar. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports earlier last month that Harper is “believed to be the Phillies’ top target.”
While Philadelphia would love to have Machado and Harper both on their roster in a perfect world to begin next season, they have a lot of competition for Machado’s services. Harper, however, it does not seem like there is a ton of suitors for him, outside of the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Therefore, it would make perfect sense for the Phillies to start putting their hypothetical chips in the middle of the table for the superstar outfielder.
This past season, Harper slashed .249/.393/.496 with 34 home runs and 100 RBI. Despite his low batting average, the 26-year-old superstar did walk a career-high 130 times, while striking out a ridiculous 169 times. But you will take the enormous amount of strikeouts for a guy, who has the ability to a hit home run any time he comes to the plate.
If the Phillies can indeed land Harper, they will have a dangerous 1-2 combo in the middle of the batting order with him and power-hitting first baseman Rhys Hoskins.