Are the Phillies about to land Manny Machado? Well, maybe, but you can pump the brakes on a rumor that was making the rounds today about a done deal.
A report out of Baltimore is saying not yet:
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) July 16, 2018
The Phillies could ultimately be the team that gets Machado, and given the smoke and contender clarity, it could definitely happen during this All-Star break. I don’t think anyone knows for sure, as the Phillies are routinely mentioned as among the top suitors right now, but are typically done so in the same breath as the Dodgers, Brewers, and/or Yankees.
Meanwhile, on the free agent front – probably of even more interest to Cubs fans – there’s this bonkers rumor:
Owner John Middleton has emerged as a driving force in Philly. He's very aggressive and has no reservations about spending money. This is hard to fathom, but I've talked to people who think he might try to sign both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado as free agents this winter. https://t.co/kT9jzpul9M
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 15, 2018
Certainly, we’ve seen owners go absolutely nuts on a spending spree, and certainly having those two 26-year-old talents on the same roster for the next several years (before the opt-outs undoubtedly kick in) would be incredible. But can they really do it?
Well, the Phillies might be uniquely positioned on that front, given that they are a major-market team with gobs of cash thanks to their TV deal, are loaded with young and inexpensive talent, and are clearly ready to compete perennially. When the Cubs were in a similar situation (pre-TV deal, though), they committed, what, $500 million to the roster over two offseasons from pre-2015 through pre-2016?
I’ve always thought the Phillies would be huge players for at least one of those two free agents – together with the usual suspects of major-market teams – and I won’t be surprised to see them rumored to be in on both. The price tags on each have been speculated to be lower than we might have previously expected, too.
In the end, for logistical, statistical, and egotistical reasons, I highly doubt they actually pull off landing both players. But I do think, at a minimum, this affirms that they can be expected to be flush with cash this coming offseason in a very attractive free agent market.
And, if the Phillies do pull off a trade for Machado this week, you can bet they will begin the offseason courting process immediately. I don’t think Machado signs an extension or anything, but I do think if he’s offered several deals in the same range, having enjoyed his time with the Phillies could be a tie-breaker.