For weeks, the baseball industry has identified the Phillies as a probable destination for Bryce Harper, Manny Machado or both.But what if Philadelphia spends aggressively this offseason … yet lands neither?That scenario is very much in play, sources say.• Latest rumors:Harper | Machado | MoreThe Phillies aren't waiting on decisions
For weeks, the baseball industry has identified the Phillies as a probable destination for Bryce Harper, Manny Machado or both.
But what if Philadelphia spends aggressively this offseason … yet lands neither?
That scenario is very much in play, sources say.
• Latest rumors:Harper | Machado | More
The Phillies aren't waiting on decisions from Harper and Machado as the team ambitiously pursues upgrades to its roster, people in the industry told MLB.com Monday. In fact, the sources said it's possible the Phils will sign multiple free agents before Harper or Machado agree to terms.
In practice, that approach means the Phillies could sign a starting pitcher, closer and an outfielder who costs less than Harper. Sources say the Phils have interest in starters Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi and J.A. Happ; closers Craig Kimbrel and Zach Britton; and outfielders Michael Brantley and A.J. Pollock, among other free agents.
The Phillies carried payrolls in excess of $170 million during multiple seasons earlier this decade. They have less than $70 million committed to players for 2019. That leaves general manager Matt Klentak with ample capacity to add multiple big-name free agents this offseason.
"This is a franchise that's carried big payrolls for a lot of years," Klentak told MLB.com during the General Managers Meetings earlier this month. "It's no secret to you, or to me, or to the fans, or to the agents. Everybody knows that. It's always been a matter of when -- and not if -- the Phillies were going to spend again."
The Phillies still could fit Corbin (the top free-agent starter) and Harper or Machado into their 2019 budget, particularly if they trade for a closer instead of signing Kimbrel or Britton. The Phils have expressed interest in Mariners closer Edwin Diaz, sources say. Seattle likely would insist on the inclusion of at least one top pitching prospect -- Sixto Sanchez or Adonis Medina -- in any deal with Philadelphia involving Diaz.
Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.