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Phils poised to make their pitch to Harper

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies had been planning a face-to-face meeting with Bryce Harper this week.

A source confirmed a USA Today report Monday that the parties will meet Saturday in Las Vegas. Phillies managing partner John Middleton will lead the Phillies' delegation.

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies had been planning a face-to-face meeting with Bryce Harper this week.

A source confirmed a USA Today report Monday that the parties will meet Saturday in Las Vegas. Phillies managing partner John Middleton will lead the Phillies' delegation.

The Phillies met late last month with Manny Machado at Citizens Bank Park. They made a contract offer to Machado, but the details are unknown. The Phillies prefer Machado over Harper in part because he plays elite-level defense at third base, but there is no question Harper would be a massive upgrade to the Phillies' lineup.

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A source said last week the Phillies' focus at this point -- particularly following last week's signing of right-hander David Robertson -- is on Machado and Harper. The Phillies would like a resolution on both superstars before they consider other moves. Saturday's meeting could be a step forward for the Phillies, although it is difficult to know where they stand with either player.

Harper's agent, Scott Boras, and Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, have given few parameters in terms of what each player is seeking in a potentially record-breaking contract. The New York Post has reported that neither player has the Phillies atop his wish list.

While the Phillies remain a favorite to sign one of the two players because they have the most financial strength and flexibility, there is plenty of speculation that Harper could return to the Nationals or sign with the Dodgers, while Machado could fulfill a lifelong dream and play with the Yankees.

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

Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper