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Machado's free-agent tour hits Philadelphia

Superstar met with Phillies representatives for four-plus hours
December 20, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- Both the Phillies and Manny Machado seemed to enjoy each other's company Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.Maybe it leads to something big."Pretty awesome," Machado said about his four-plus hour meeting with Phillies officials. "I learned a lot about the organization. Very fun."

PHILADELPHIA -- Both the Phillies and Manny Machado seemed to enjoy each other's company Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
Maybe it leads to something big.
"Pretty awesome," Machado said about his four-plus hour meeting with Phillies officials. "I learned a lot about the organization. Very fun."

Afterwards, the buzz inside the ballpark was that the Phillies, Machado, his wife, Yainee Alonso, and his representation had a productive visit. It does not mean the Phils will sign Machado to a multi-year contract in the coming weeks. The Yankees or White Sox could outbid them and Machado, who grew up a Yankees fan, visited those teams earlier this week.
The meeting likely means the Phillies believe they put their best foot forward, selling the organization and the city as an excellent place to play and live. It likely means Machado sold himself, just months removed from his controversial "Johnny Hustle" comments and actions in the National League Championship Series and World Series.

Machado, his wife and his crew arrived at the ballpark at 12:14 p.m. ET. An electrician named Tom Cudeyro from South Jersey greeted him on Pattison Avenue and asked for a photo. Machado obliged. Cudeyro then reminded Machado that Philadelphia is home to the Super Bowl-champion Eagles.
Local electrician greeted Machado when he arrived for his visit
"Do the right thing and sign," Cudeyro said. "Get the money."
Getting the money will not be a problem for Machado. He will be paid handsomely by the Phillies or somebody else.
The only question is, how much? $250 million? $300 million? More?

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak is the man who will put together the final offer for Machado, although that offer must be greenlighted by ownership. Klentak greeted Machado at the Phillies' executive office entrance. Manager Gabe Kapler was the second person in the welcome line.
Over the next four-plus hours, Machado, his wife and representatives met with Phillies managing partner John Middleton, president Andy MacPhail, Klentak, Kapler, assistant general manager Ned Rice, hitting coach John Mallee, bench coach Rob Thomson and other Phillies employees that handle everything from team travel to the family lounge.
Phillies partner Jim Buck dashed out of the ballpark in the rain at one point in the afternoon, although it is unclear if he met Machado.
The group had lunch. They watched a video that touted Philadelphia.
They finally left the ballpark around 4:25 p.m. ET with a dinner with Phillies officials planned later that night in Old City.
Sources have told MLB.com that the Phillies prefer Machado over free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper. It is unclear if Thursday's meeting cemented those feelings, but the Phils have been confident that Machado is open to playing third base -- his preference has been shortstop -- and that his comments and actions that caused so much controversy in the postseason will not be an issue. Former teammates of the 26-year-old have said in recent weeks that they enjoyed playing with Machado, while acknowledging that he sometimes makes questionable decisions on the field.

Still, Machado's immense talents are unquestionable. He has hit .282 with 175 home runs, 513 RBIs, an .822 OPS and a 121 OPS+ over seven seasons with the Orioles and Dodgers. He is an American League Gold Glove Award-winning third baseman. He is a four-time All-Star.
Machado is a 33.8 WAR player over that time, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He is only 26, which means he might not even have hit his prime yet.
Machado immediately becomes the Phillies' best position player, if they sign him. And when might that happen?
"I don't know about that," Machado said as he signed autographs for Phillies fans. "That's my agent's job. I'm just enjoying the ride."
Most rides that end with a nine-figure contract are enjoyable. If only everybody could take one.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.