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The latest Moustakas free-agent rumors

MLB.com

Mike Moustakas has crushed 66 homers the past two seasons -- only Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado and Jose Ramirez have more among players with at least 50 percent of games at third base in that span. That power makes the 30-year-old, who is in his second straight offseason as a free agent, a solid alternative to Machado.

Below you will find the most recent buzz and rumors about the third baseman.

Mike Moustakas has crushed 66 homers the past two seasons -- only Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado and Jose Ramirez have more among players with at least 50 percent of games at third base in that span. That power makes the 30-year-old, who is in his second straight offseason as a free agent, a solid alternative to Machado.

Below you will find the most recent buzz and rumors about the third baseman.

Moose reuniting with Hosmer in San Diego could be boon to younger players
Feb. 16: One aspect of the free-agent market that can be overlooked because it applies only to certain teams is the need for veterans to mentor younger players during a club's rebuilding phase. That's definitely the case with the Padres, who signed Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract prior to the 2018 season. MLB.com's Richard Justice thinks San Diego ought to do something similar this year by bringing in Hosmer's former teammate with the Royals, third baseman Mike Moustakas.

The pair helped Kansas City reach back-to-back World Series in 2014 and '15, winning the franchise's first title in 30 years by defeating the Mets in '15. That chemistry could be a valuable asset for the Padres in terms of not only having production from both when the club is ready to contend, but also helping younger players mature as San Diego eyes success in the coming years.

Moustakas began the '18 season with the Royals before being traded to the Brewers in July. He helped Milwaukee reach the National League Championship Series, hitting .256/.326/.441 with eight homers in 54 games down the stretch. Overall, he slashed .251/.315/.459 with 28 homers in 152 games last year, following a big season in which he launched 38 home runs with an .835 OPS.

Halos in on Moose
Feb. 15: For a second straight offseason, Moustakas is unsigned into Spring Training. But he has a new suitor: the Angels.

According to a report Friday from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Halos are now in on Moustakas. That adds one more team to the list of potential landing spots for the third baseman, along with the Brewers, Padres and Phillies.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: #LAAngels are a new (or at least previously unpublicized) team in on Mike Moustakas. Moose is from the LA Valley and has done good work raising $ for fire victims in Cali. Brewers, possibly Padres and Phillies are other possibilities.

Third base has been an issue for the Angels for a while. They signed Zack Cozart last offseason to solidify the position, but he got off to a slow start and then suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder that required season-ending surgery in June.

If Cozart returns to full strength in 2019, there would be some question about how to fit both him and Moustakas in the Angels' lineup. One possibility would be playing Moustakas at third and Cozart at second, where he spent some time last year. They could also use Cozart at third and Moustakas at DH or first base, even though the Angels already have Albert Pujols and Justin Bour at those spots while they await Shohei Ohtani's return. The Halos could also platoon Cozart and Moustakas, with the former a right-handed bat and the latter a lefty.

Is a reunion between Moose and Milwaukee inevitable?
Feb. 9: As the Brewers await the arrival of second-base prospect Keston Hiura (MLB Pipeline's No. 20 overall prospect), the club has an unsettled keystone situation on the big league roster. Could Milwaukee solve that problem by signing … a third baseman?

Mike Moustakas is still available after finishing the 2018 campaign with the Brewers, who traded for the veteran in July and moved Travis Shaw from the hot corner to second base. The Crew could consider taking that route again, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required).

In fact, Rosenthal writes that "a reunion between the Brewers and Moustakas seems inevitable."

Moustakas could be a fallback option for teams eyeing Manny Machado, including the Phillies, White Sox and Padres. But if Machado remains unsigned over the next few weeks, Moustakas may tire of waiting.

That said, signing Moustakas and moving Shaw to second base for the 2019 season would raise some questions for the Brewers, as Rosenthal notes.

Primarily, Shaw's lack of range could become a concern if he is forced to stay at second base for the entire season. Shaw may also be uncomfortable making that move when he has his second year of arbitration eligibility upcoming after the 2019 campaign. Sources tell Rosenthal that the two sides are not discussing a long-term deal, and a poor defensive campaign at second base could hurt Shaw if he is forced to go to an arbitration hearing next offseason.

Meanwhile, the Brewers reportedly added another short-term second-base option to the fold Saturday, agreeing to a Minor League contract with Brett Lawrie. The 29-year-old hasn't played in the Majors since 2016, but he was a first-round Draft pick in '08 and a near-league-average bat (97 OPS+) over '12-16. He initially announced the signing himself via Instagram. According to Robert Murray of The Athletic, Lawrie's deal includes a club option for '20 and could be worth up to $7 million. Lawrie, Cory Spangenberg, Hernan Perez and Tyler Saladino are all in the mix to receive playing time at second until Hiura arrives.

Tweet from @ByRobertMurray: Further context: If Lawrie makes it to the majors in ���19, his salary is $1 million. Performance bonuses in ���19 and escalators in ���20. If the option for ���20 is declined, he would be eligible for free agency. https://t.co/TsmqKQb7Jq

Could Rays make a play for Moustakas?
Feb. 6: As one of the smaller-market teams with limited resources, the Rays typically don't spend much in free agency. But they're also coming off a surprising 2018 and looking to contend now, meaning they might be more willing to hit the open market, especially since some of the names they could target likely would come cheaper than expected with Spring Training just around the corner.

Their biggest expenditure so far this offseason was the two-year, $30 million deal to land righty Charlie Morton to improve their rotation. Could the Rays fit one more free agent in their budget? Like, say, Mike Moustakas?

Tampa Bay still has something of a need at both third base and designated hitter, and Eno Sarris of The Athletic thinks Moustakas would be a match (subscription required).

"The Rays had a shot at [Edwin] Encarnacion when they were negotiating with the Indians and Mariners in the three-team trade that turned Jake Bauers into Yandy Diaz," Sarris writes. "And they passed. Could they instead spend some free-agent dollars on a player that would add infield depth and perhaps surpass the slugger's production with a slightly different package of strengths and weaknesses?"

Moustakas is projected to hit .257/.317/.475 with 30 homers and a .218 isolated power mark while only striking out 16.8 percent of the time, according to Steamer projections. Encarnacion, on the other hand, is projected to slash .238/.337/.463 with 28 long balls, a .260 ISO and a 22.8 percent strikeout rate.

Another factor? The Rays lean right-handed on offense, with only Kevin Kiermaier, Austin Meadows, Joey Wendle and Ji-Man Choi among expected regulars who swing from the left side. Moustakas would add to that, quickly becoming Tampa Bay's top southpaw-slugging threat. It also would work well on defense, as Moustakas could take over at the hot corner, pushing Matt Duffy into more of a utility role, which would fit well given his versatility and injury history.

Could Moose reunite with Hoz?
Jan. 29: The Padres made news this past week with their reported interest in Manny Machado, but don't count them out of the running for another star free-agent infielder. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports that San Diego is considering an offer for Moustakas, whose free agency is stretching toward Spring Training for a second straight year.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: While Padres have an eye on Manny Machado, they are also considering Mike Moustakas, who may be a more realistic target. No surprise, Eric Hosmer is said to have highly recommended Moose.

Moustakas and Hosmer teamed up in Kansas City through the 2017 season, of course, helping the Royals capture back-to-back American League pennants and the '15 World Series championship. San Diego's third-base hole is one of the most glaring on any of the 30 MLB rosters, with rookie Ty France currently slotted in as the Opening Day starter. There were rumors that the Padres would ask Machado to play third if he wound up signing with the Friars. Moustakas was worth 0.7 more WAR in 2018 than Christian Villanueva, the Padres' primary third baseman last season.

 

Mike Moustakas

The latest Gonzalez free-agent rumors

MLB.com

Marwin Gonzalez followed a breakout 2017 (.303/.377/.530) with a solid season in '18, posting a .733 OPS to go with 25 doubles and 16 home runs in a career-high 552 plate appearances. That and the 29-year-old's ability to play strong defense at multiple positions, including shortstop, second base and left field, make him an intriguing option for any number of clubs.

Below is a rundown of the latest news and rumors surrounding the versatile veteran.

Marwin Gonzalez followed a breakout 2017 (.303/.377/.530) with a solid season in '18, posting a .733 OPS to go with 25 doubles and 16 home runs in a career-high 552 plate appearances. That and the 29-year-old's ability to play strong defense at multiple positions, including shortstop, second base and left field, make him an intriguing option for any number of clubs.

Below is a rundown of the latest news and rumors surrounding the versatile veteran.

Is Marwin to Minneapolis the perfect match?
Feb. 16: Why would Marwin Gonzalez to the Twins be the right fit? According to MLB.com's Richard Justice, while it's true Minnesota has made some offensive upgrades, particularly by signing veteran slugger Nelson Cruz, Gonzalez would be "an insurance policy for the things that don't go right."

Since Gonzalez is the ultimate super-utility player, having played every position but pitcher and catcher, and the Twins could use more depth pretty much all over the diamond, such a signing would make a lot of sense.

Gonzalez had a breakout 2017 campaign for the World Series champion Astros, hitting .303/.377/.530 with 23 homers in 515 plate appearances. He took a step back last year, slashing .247/.324/.409 with 16 homers in 552 plate appearances. Nevertheless, he's 29 years old and has proven his ability to hit in addition to his added value from his versatility. And the Twins are looking up at the Indians in what could very well be a competitive American League Central in '19.

Marwin in Cleveland? Don't rule it out
Feb. 8: The Indians might have the most uncertain outfield situation in the Majors, and they may now be forced to enter the regular season without All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who is expected to be held out of game action for seven to nine weeks due to a right calf strain.

Cleveland is still arguably the favorite in the American League Central, but the team has a great deal of question marks. Meanwhile, the Twins have improved this offseason, and the up-and-coming White Sox could add Manny Machado to the mix. The division race should be a much tougher fight than it was in 2018, with the Tribe won it by 13 games.

The Indians made several moves to trim payroll this offseason, so a major addition may not be forthcoming. But if Cleveland does want to dip into the free-agent market for some insurance, there just so happens to be someone available who can play the outfield and provide depth at shortstop … looking at you, Marwin Gonzalez.

So, could the Indians find some extra cash to sign the ultra-versatile Gonzalez? Cleveland projects to open the campaign with a payroll below $120 million, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. The team began 2018 at roughly $134 million, meaning there is likely room to ink the 29-year-old, even if the Tribe wants to stay below last year's Opening Day mark.

Finding the right fit for Marwin
Feb. 6: Trying to find a match for Marwin Gonzalez should be easy. He's a play-just-about-anywhere defensive specialist with a potent offensive profile who is very much in his prime at age 29. In other words, he could be a fit for just about any team, even more so because he's unlikely to command a hefty, long-term contract.

But in a way, Gonzalez's level of versatility and value actually makes it somewhat challenging to come up with just the right fit because it's easy to see him with most clubs. Here's one possibility that might be especially on point, though.

Gonzalez to Cleveland is "an idea that would help the Indians by giving them backup plans all over the diamond," Eno Sarris of The Athletic writes in a column looking at five contenders with glaring holes (subscription required). "He's a switch-hitter and could find a more permanent home in the outfield if Jake Bauers is definitely a first baseman, anywhere on the infield if someone gets hurt, and could even be a first baseman in a pinch."

Sarris suggests a three-year, $30 million contract would be enough to land Gonzalez at this stage of the offseason, and it likely wouldn't be beyond Cleveland's budget. With one of baseball's best rotations built around Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger, as well as a star-studded infield featuring Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez already in place, the Tribe has a glaring need for outfield help. Gonzalez would address that, in particular, providing a proven corner option to play alongside Leonys Martin in center.

Are White Sox a match for Marwin?
Feb. 1: The White Sox have spent much of the winter being connected to free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the two biggest names on the open market. There's still a chance they could land one of those two stars, but should they be setting their sights a little lower -- or at least, have a good backup plan in mind, in case they don't snag either Machado or Harper?

Like, say, Marwin Gonzalez?

"Frankly, this is a commitment that would make much more sense than a Machado or Harper signing for a rebuilding team that is simultaneously trying to climb the ladder and evaluate where the holes in the lineup are," MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince writes in a column listing six bold predictions for the month of February. "Gonzalez can plug and play all over the place, and for a team with question marks in the corner outfield and in regard to Yoan Moncada 's long-term home (second base or third?), that's an asset."

Gonzalez's versatility would be an asset for any team, but it might come in especially handy for the White Sox, who have a ton of young talent that either has barely broken into the big leagues or is on the verge of doing so. Put simply: Chicago will need time and flexibility when it comes to playing and evaluating what should be its up-and-coming core. Gonzalez can provide that, because he can play anywhere in the infield and either outfield corner spot.

"Money does not seem to be an issue here," Castrovince continues. "The White Sox have reportedly been in pursuit of Machado and Harper, and Gonzalez won't come close to that kind of contract. And if we can assume that the Harper and Machado sagas will finally be resolved this month, then the other dominoes can fall, too. Gonzalez to the Windy City would work."

While it's unclear what sort of contract Gonzalez is seeking or what he might wind up being paid, it'll surely be a fraction of the price to land Machado or Harper. That could give the White Sox the chance to see what they have in Moncada for another year, get a long look at rookie outfielder Eloy Jimenez on the South Side and also figure out how close infielder Nick Madrigal -- an advanced college bat who was the No. 4 overall pick in last year's Draft -- is to making an impact in the big leagues.

Then maybe the club could make a big free agency push next offseason, when big-name position players like Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rendon are due to hit the market.

What are the chances the Astros will re-sign Keuchel, Marwin?
Jan. 31: Astros owner Jim Crane stirred up some buzz last week when he hinted that the club might be interested in bringing back free agents Dallas Keuchel and Marwin Gonzalez, but is a reunion with either one actually in play?

MLB.com's Brian McTaggart considers Keuchel more likely to return than Gonzalez, as the Astros don't have an immediate need for the utility man after signing Michael Brantley and trading for Aledmys Diaz. However, that doesn't mean Houston is particularly likely to re-sign the left-hander. McTaggart gave it less than a 20 percent chance of happening, and the chances might be even lower now after Houston reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with southpaw Wade Miley on Thursday.

However, it sounds like the Astros haven't completely closed the door on Keuchel, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that Houston is still hoping to bring him back.

Tweet from @BNightengale: The #Astros, after signing Wade Miley to one year,$4.5 million deal, still hope to bring back former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel too

Miley could replace Keuchel in the Astros' rotation, and Houston could fill the spots vacated by Charlie Morton, who signed with the Rays, and Lance McCullers Jr., who underwent Tommy John surgery, with a combination of Collin McHugh, Josh James, Brad Peacock and Forrest Whitley -- MLB's Pipeline's No. 7 overall prospect -- among others.

Video: Crane, Luhnow hope to cut deals with Keuchel, Marwin

Marwin Gonzalez

Rumors: Marwin, Moose, Kimbrel, Yanks, Harper

The latest MLB free agent and trade rumors for Hot Stove season
MLB.com

It's Hot Stove season, and MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

Free agents, by position
Free agents, by team

It's Hot Stove season, and MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

Free agents, by position
Free agents, by team

Is Marwin to Minneapolis the perfect match?
Feb. 16: Why would Marwin Gonzalez to the Twins be the right fit? According to MLB.com's Richard Justice, while it's true Minnesota has made some offensive upgrades, particularly by signing veteran slugger Nelson Cruz, Gonzalez would be "an insurance policy for the things that don't go right."

Since Gonzalez is the ultimate super-utility player, having played every position but pitcher and catcher, and the Twins could use more depth pretty much all over the diamond, such a signing would make a lot of sense.

Gonzalez had a breakout 2017 campaign for the World Series champion Astros, hitting .303/.377/.530 with 23 homers in 515 plate appearances. He took a step back last year, slashing .247/.324/.409 with 16 homers in 552 plate appearances. Nevertheless, he's 29 years old and has proven his ability to hit in addition to his added value from his versatility. And the Twins are looking up at the Indians in what could very well be a competitive American League Central in '19.

Moose reuniting with Hosmer in San Diego could be boon to younger players
Feb. 16: One aspect of the free-agent market that can be overlooked because it applies only to certain teams is the need for veterans to mentor younger players during a club's rebuilding phase. That's definitely the case with the Padres, who signed Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract prior to the 2018 season. MLB.com's Richard Justice thinks San Diego ought to do something similar this year by bringing in Hosmer's former teammate with the Royals, third baseman Mike Moustakas.

The pair helped Kansas City reach back-to-back World Series in 2014 and '15, winning the franchise's first title in 30 years by defeating the Mets in '15. That chemistry could be a valuable asset for the Padres in terms of not only having production from both when the club is ready to contend, but also helping younger players mature as San Diego eyes success in the coming years.

Moustakas began the '18 season with the Royals before being traded to the Brewers in July. He helped Milwaukee reach the National League Championship Series, hitting .256/.326/.441 with eight homers in 54 games down the stretch. Overall, he slashed .251/.315/.459 with 28 homers in 152 games last year, following a big season in which he launched 38 home runs with an .835 OPS.

How could a Harper or Machado signing impact Kimbrel?
Feb. 16: Craig Kimbrel  entered the offseason as the best closer on the market, but while most other back-of-the-bullpen relievers have come off the board, the All-Star right-hander remains unsigned. That may be due, in part, to the type of contract he's been rumored to be asking for: a six-year deal, which would be unprecedented for a relief pitcher. But Kimbrel isn't the only big-name free agent still out there, of course. So what could happen with Kimbrel if Bryce Harper  or Manny Machado  signs before he does?

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand goes through multiple scenarios in which one of the two superstars secure a contract, and what impact it would have on other top free agents. In the case of Kimbrel, Feinsand writes that the closer likely would end up reuniting with either the Red Sox or Braves in the event Harper or Machado signs with the Phillies. He adds that if Harper signs with the Nationals or Giants, the Phillies may become a more likely destination for Kimbrel. Philadelphia's level of interest, of course, would also depend on its continued pursuit of Machado in that case.

What if Machado signs with the White Sox and Harper is still out there? Feinsand surmises Philly could then become a more likely landing spot for Kimbrel, but that would also depend on how serious the club is about inking Harper. If the Phillies aren't able to sign either superstar, "it could spark a chain reaction that could land Dallas Keuchel  or Kimbrel -- or both -- in Philly." More >

Don't count Yanks out on Harper or Machado
Feb. 16: Even as Spring Training has begun and the Yankees have already made several moves to upgrade a roster that won 100 games last year, don't count New York out when it comes to the two premier free agents remaining on the market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

"I wouldn't say specifically, but I would reinforce, I'm doing my job," general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday. "Whether that's those two players or other players that aren't as significant name value, the job at hand is to constantly be open-minded to ways to make this work the best it can possibly work. ... We like what we've done to this point, but we're never a finished product."

The Yankees already have a full outfield with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and an injured Jacoby Ellsbury. Signing Harper would necessitate some reshuffling. With respect to Machado, the Yankees have added multiple infielders already, signing free agents Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu. Tulowitzki is expected to open the season at shortstop as Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery, and LeMahieu is expected to play a super-utility role.

Then again, this is the Yankees, a team that can really never be counted out on big free agents, regardless of the situation. 

How close is Harper to making his choice?
Feb. 16: Make of this what you will, but a report started circulating and gaining some steam Friday afternoon that Bryce Harper just might be on the verge of finding a new home.

Maybe.

In a conversation with radio station 94WIP in Philadelphia about the superstar free agent's situation, Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan, a radio station in Washington, D.C., speculated that Harper could be making up his mind very, very soon.

To a certain extent, that meshes with information coming from former big league general manager Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ and The Athletic, who says the Phillies are viewed as the clear favorite for Harper, followed by the Nationals. More >

Is Keuchel still waiting on Harper and Machado?
Feb. 16: Dallas Keuchel has been the top available starting pitcher for several weeks now, but his market appears to be at something of a standstill. Why? Perhaps in large part due to the two bigger names still available in free agency: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

In an in-depth rundown of how the dominoes could fall once Harper or Machado signs, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand explains how many of Keuchel's scenarios depend on where the slugging outfielder and/or star infielder wind up. More >

After meeting with Padres GM, here's how Machado could fit in San Diego
Feb. 16: After SNY's Andy Martino reported that the Padres were being "very aggressive" with their offer to Manny Machado, a source confirmed to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that general manager A.J. Preller actually flew to Miami to meet with Machado and his wife sometime in the past week.

Machado is the Friars' first choice to fill their vacancy at the hot corner, but it is not believed that the 26-year-old is close to choosing a team at this time, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

MLB.com's AJ Cassavell provides a look at how Machado would fit with the Padres in both the short and long term, while Feinsand breaks down how the dominoes could fall for Bryce Harper (as well as Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel) if Machado goes to San Diego. More > 

Halos in on Moose
Feb. 15: For a second straight offseason, Mike Moustakas is unsigned into Spring Training. But the slugging third baseman has a new suitor.

The Angels are in on Moustakas, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. That adds one more team to the list of potential landing spots for the veteran, along with the Brewers, Padres and Phillies. More >

Video: MLB Tonight: Angels rumored to pursue Mike Moustakas

Latest on extension talks between Mets, deGrom
Feb. 15: Jacob deGrom's representatives have set an Opening Day deadline for the Mets to complete a contract extension with the right-hander, and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said that deGrom's reps will be in Port St. Lucie soon to ramp up discussions.

deGrom, 30, took part in a press conference after being announced as the Mets' 2019 Opening Day starter and reaffirmed his desire to remain with the club on a long-term basis.

"I would like to be a part of this team's future," deGrom said. "I would like the feeling to be mutual, but that's just something that we're going to have to see."

The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, who can become a free agent after the 2020 season, also said he would consult with his agents about a self-imposed restriction on his workload if the two sides can't reach an agreement. More >

Video: deGrom, Van Wagenen on a potential contract extension

Keuchel still could be a fit for Astros in 2019 -- and beyond
Feb. 15: When the Astros inked left-hander Wade Miley  in late January, the initial thought was that transaction decreased the chances of free agent Dallas Keuchel  returning to Houston. And yet, the club may be keeping the door open to the possibility, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported.

Here's why a reunion with Keuchel still could work. It's true that the Astros have excellent rotation depth for this season, as Justin Verlander Gerrit Cole Collin McHugh  and Miley are backed up by Brad Peacock , and a host of youngsters like Forrest Whitley  (MLB Pipeline's No. 7 overall prospect), Josh James  (the No. 62 overall prospect), Framber Valdez Cionel Perez  and J.B. Bukauskas

But with Miley in the fold on a one-year pact, the Astros now have (count 'em) four starters who can hit the open market after the 2019 season; McHugh and co-aces Verlander and Cole are the others. And the looming free agency of the latter two is something Houston's front office is going to have to face soon enough. More >

Are Phillies still front-runners for Harper or Machado?
Feb. 15: Even if the Phillies aren't necessarily the first choice for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, will one of the superstar free agents ultimately accept Philadelphia's offer?

Buster Olney predicted as much in an appearance on ESPN's "Get Up!," saying the feeling is that the White Sox are a "safety net" for both players.

With both Harper and Machado reportedly seeking contracts in the range of 10 years for more than $300 million, the two have lingered on the free-agent market. But Olney thinks both player will eventually land deals between 8 and 10 years.

Meanwhile, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak indicated that he is still monitoring the open market but also feels like the team accomplished its offseason goals by adding Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto and David Robertson. More >

Arenado won't set hard deadline on contract extension negotiations
Feb. 14: The Rockies are hoping to work out a long-term contract extension with Nolan Arenado before the third baseman becomes a free agent next offseason, and they'll have some time to do so.

Arenado said Thursday that he won't make Opening Day a hard deadline for negotiations, giving his agent, Joel Wolfe, a chance to continue talks with Colorado during the season, if needed.

The 27-year-old recently came to an agreement with the Rockies on a one-year deal for 2019 that will pay him $26 million, a record for an arbitration-eligible player. More >

Where will remaining FAs sign? Here are some fits

MLB.com

Maybe a little nudge will do it. Suggestion is said to be a powerful thing. If one guy gets things started, we might have an avalanche of deals. Can't hurt to try. We understand that things get a bit more complicated for unsigned free agents after Spring Training camps start. Lots of teams want to take a look at their best prospects before signing an older free agent.

Remember when Juan Soto was thought to be at least a year away when the Nationals summoned him to the big leagues last year? His success prompts every team to take a second and third look at its own youngsters. On the other hand, this market is still so flush with talent that every team has avenues to improvement. So let's nudge things along with some ideas about where nine of the top free agents would fit.

Maybe a little nudge will do it. Suggestion is said to be a powerful thing. If one guy gets things started, we might have an avalanche of deals. Can't hurt to try. We understand that things get a bit more complicated for unsigned free agents after Spring Training camps start. Lots of teams want to take a look at their best prospects before signing an older free agent.

Remember when Juan Soto was thought to be at least a year away when the Nationals summoned him to the big leagues last year? His success prompts every team to take a second and third look at its own youngsters. On the other hand, this market is still so flush with talent that every team has avenues to improvement. So let's nudge things along with some ideas about where nine of the top free agents would fit.

1. Manny Machado to the White Sox
Machado would be a nice fit almost anywhere. He's 26 years old and coming off a four-year stretch in which he averaged 159 games, 36 home runs and an .856 OPS. But the White Sox feel like an ideal fit because they are filled with near-MLB-ready talent, and Machado would give them a face-of-the-franchise cornerstone to build around. His presence would allow the kids to become acclimated to the Majors while he's the main focus of attention.

The latest Machado free-agent rumors

Video: Machado is No. 14 on MLB Network's Top 100 Right Now

2. Bryce Harper to the Giants
Harper would make every team way better, and while the Phillies seem to be the favorite, it's easy to see the Padres, Nationals and a long list of others landing him. The Giants may be a late entry into the Harper sweepstakes, but they've been discussing him internally for more than a year. His arrival would immediately insert the Giants back into the middle of the postseason conversation.

The latest Harper free-agent rumors

Video: Harper is No. 15 on MLB Network's Top 100 Right Now

3. Dallas Keuchel to the Braves
Let's not overthink things. The Braves were one of baseball's most exciting teams in 2018 and appeared to be poised to be a powerhouse for the foreseeable future. What they do not have is a veteran at the front of their rotation. At 31, Keuchel is that and more. In the last five seasons, he's fifth in the American League in ERA and sixth in innings and FanGraphs' version of WAR. In that time, his 23.3 percent soft-contact rate is the best among all AL starters.

The latest Keuchel free-agent rumors

4. Craig Kimbrel to the Astros
With Kimbrel, the challenge isn't to find a perfect fit, but to find one that's not a perfect fit. He could elevate virtually every team, including the Red Sox, Cubs, Braves and Cardinals. The Astros had baseball's best bullpen and were strengthened during the season with the additions of Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly at the Trade Deadline. Signing Kimbrel would allow the Astros to keep pace with the Yankees' super bullpen and also shore up a potential area of weakness with Collin McHugh headed back to the rotation and veteran Joe Smith out for the season.

The latest Kimbrel free-agent rumors

Video: Craig Kimbrel is the No. 1 relief pitcher right now

5. Marwin Gonzalez to the Twins
He's not a utility player. Over the last three seasons he has averaged 528 plate appearances for an Astros team that had the third-most regular-season wins in the Majors. He's a utility player only because he has the mentality to play all over the diamond. Some teams aren't signing him because they're uncertain if they'd have enough at-bats for him. That's silly. There's always playing time for a guy like this. The Twins could have a fairly set lineup, but Gonzalez is an insurance policy for the things that don't go right.

The latest Gonzalez free-agent rumors

6. Mike Moustakas to the Padres
The Padres could land either Harper or Machado, but Moustakas would be a nice fit. He and Eric Hosmer would be solid mentors for all that young talent that's on the way. The Brewers would also make sense for Moustakas after he helped them win the National League Central after being acquired last summer.

The latest Moustakas free-agent rumors

7. Gio Gonzalez to the Mets
The Mets need rotation depth and not much else. Last season, teams gave eight starting pitchers an average of five starts, so while the Mets have a very good front four, history says they're going to need a lot more than that. Gonzalez was excellent down the stretch for the Brewers in 2018 and is two seasons removed from pitching 201 innings with a 2.96 ERA for the Nationals.

Video: DET@MIL: Gonzalez tosses 5 scoreless innings

8. Adam Jones to the Nationals
Jones would be a solid addition to the outfield depth on a franchise that is good enough to win a World Series. Also, he would provide that intangible leadership thing that those of us on the outside can't quantify. He was huge in helping the Orioles return to respectability, and it's hard not to see a renaissance at the age of 33.

9. Clay Buchholz to the Yankees
Buchholz spent 10 seasons with the Red Sox, so he understands the dynamics of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. He proved last summer with the D-backs that when he's healthy, he's still capable of pitching at a high level. He would provide the Yankees with depth both in the rotation and bullpen. He would be a nice finishing touch for a very good offseason.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

These are the ramifications if Bryce joins Phillies

MLB.com

It's already been a busy offseason for the Phillies, who have upgraded by trading for J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, and signing Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson.

But many feel there is still a big piece missing.

It's already been a busy offseason for the Phillies, who have upgraded by trading for J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, and signing Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson.

But many feel there is still a big piece missing.

That would be Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, the two highest-profile free agents, both of whom remain available and both of whom have been connected to Philadelphia throughout the offseason. Looking at Harper specifically, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand recently named the Phillies as one of two favorites to land the slugger, along with the National League East-rival Nationals.

The latest Harper free-agent rumors

Washington is the only franchise Harper has known, but the Phillies might have the greater need and the stronger motivation. Speaking Thursday at Phillies camp in Clearwater, Fla., general manager Matt Klentak said his club will "continue to explore" signing another prominent free agent, such as Harper or Machado, and expressed his belief that the Phillies have "put our best foot forward with those guys so far."

With that context, let's take a look at what would happen if the Phillies did sign Harper -- just as we did for the Yankees earlier this week.

Where would he play?
By shipping off Carlos Santana in the Segura trade, the Phillies also opened up first base for Rhys Hoskins, who should be more comfortable defensively there. They then signed McCutchen to fill left field. That leaves a crowd of outfielders competing at the other two spots, primarily Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, Roman Quinn and Aaron Altherr.

Harper, should he sign, most likely would slide into right field, next to Herrera and McCutchen. That could displace Williams, acquired in the Cole Hamels trade, who over two Major League seasons has yet to establish himself as an indispensable piece. Since Herrera and Quinn are the best options in center, it's possible such a move could force a trade of Williams.

Video: McCutchen excited to join promising Phillies

Where would he hit?
McCutchen, Realmuto and Segura all have strengthened a Phillies lineup that last season ranked 22nd in the Majors with a .707 OPS and tied for 21st with 677 runs scored. Even so, it's still not a group that is necessarily heavy on power, with only Hoskins having a recent 30-homer season.

Hoskins also bats right-handed, while Herrera and Williams are the only pure left-handed batters in the current projected lineup. Harper could slide right into the middle of the order, pairing with Hoskins as a one-two, left-right slugging combo. Here's how that might look:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Andrew McCutchen, LF
3. J.T. Realmuto, C
4. Bryce Harper, RF
5. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Maikel Franco, 3B
8. Jean Segura, SS
9. Pitcher's spot

That's just one possibility, but manager Gabe Kapler would have no shortage of options. Segura could swap with Hernandez or join him at the top of the lineup. McCutchen could hit leadoff or move below the Realmuto-Harper-Hoskins trio, although his strength over the past two seasons has been patient at-bats and OBPs over .360. Whatever the exact order, Harper would be the centerpiece.

Video: WSH@PHI: Harper rips a 111-mph homer off Aaron Nola

How would this affect 2019 projections?
The Phillies are exactly the sort of team that could use another significant infusion of talent. The Steamer projections available at FanGraphs have them at .500 in 2019, in fourth place in the NL East but just behind the Braves (82 wins) and Mets (85). Philly is part of a crowd of nine NL clubs projected at between 79 and 86 wins -- the latter figure good for the top Wild Card spot.

It's a similar story with Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections, where the Phillies fare a bit better (85-77) but still are tied for third in the division with the Braves, one of 10 teams between 80 wins and the 88 necessary for a Wild Card berth.

The point is, Philly is in a place where every additional victory could significantly affect its chances of qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2011.

Harper is projected for roughly 5 wins above replacement (WAR), according to Steamer, while slashing .267/.399/.528 with 34 home runs. Meanwhile, even assuming 600 plate appearances each, Williams, Quinn and Altherr all project for less than 1 WAR. In other words, bringing Harper to Citizens Bank Park easily could mean a boost of four or five wins -- enough to push the Phillies from hopeful to favorite for a Wild Card spot, and into serious contention for the NL East.

Video: Gammons on Phillies' outlook at Spring Training

What are some other long-term ramifications?
In terms of the Competitive Balance Tax, the Phillies still have plenty of room to operate without incurring any sort of penalty. The threshold for 2019 is $206 million, and Philadelphia currently stands at about $166 million, according to Roster Resource.

Furthermore, the only players the club is firmly committed to beyond 2021 are Aaron Nola, Scott Kingery and Segura, though Herrera, McCutchen and Jake Arrieta also will be retainable via team options. In the short term, the Phillies can accommodate an expensive contract. In the long term, they have flexibility and can build around Harper, Nola and Hoskins.

However, the Phillies would have to consider Harper's outfield defense, which rated quite poorly last season by advanced metrics. While there is reason to think Harper will bounce back in the short term, that defense could become an issue again over the course of a lengthy contract, especially if Hoskins becomes entrenched at first base -- unless the NL adopts the designated hitter by that point.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper

The latest Machado free-agent rumors

MLB.com

Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.

Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.

Don't count Yanks out on Machado or Harper
Feb. 16: Even as Spring Training has begun and the Yankees have already made several moves to upgrade a roster that won 100 games last year, don't count New York out when it comes to the two premier free agents remaining on the market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

"I wouldn't say specifically, but I would reinforce, I'm doing my job," general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday. "Whether that's those two players or other players that aren't as significant name value, the job at hand is to constantly be open-minded to ways to make this work the best it can possibly work. ... We like what we've done to this point, but we're never a finished product."

The Yankees already have a full outfield with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and an injured Jacoby Ellsbury. Signing Harper would necessitate some reshuffling. With respect to Machado, the Yankees have added multiple infielders already, signing free agents Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu. Tulowitzki is expected to open the season at shortstop as Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery, and LeMahieu is expected to play a super-utility role.

Then again, this is the Yankees, a team that can really never be counted out on big free agents, regardless of the situation. 

After meeting with Padres GM, here's how Machado could fit in San Diego
Feb. 16: After SNY's Andy Martino reported that the Padres were being "very aggressive" with their offer to Manny Machado, a source confirmed to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that general manager A.J. Preller actually flew to Miami to meet with Machado and his wife sometime in the past week.

Machado is the Friars' first choice to fill their vacancy at the hot corner, but it is not believed that the 26-year-old is close to choosing a team at this time, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Martino previously noted that some in Machado's camp have been pushing for the infielder to sign a shorter-term deal with the Yankees, who are believed to be his preferred destination. The Phillies and White Sox also remain in the mix.

Tweet from @martinonyc: Told that Padres have been very aggressive with offer to Machado but he doesn���t know if he wants to go there. Some in his camp pushing for shorter term deal with Yankees. Phillies, White Sox also big on him, as you surely know.

New York has Miguel Andujar at third base, and added infielders Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu this offseason, making a Machado signing seem unlikely. But the club might change its tune if Machado is willing to accept a lesser contract. While the Yanks are not viewed as the frontrunners for Machado, they aren't "out" on him either and are maintaining a line of communication, according to Martino.

Tweet from @martinonyc: The Yankees are not out on Machado, still talking, not the frontrunner. Really same as for many months https://t.co/zu1Ton9Igh

The Padres are also in on Bryce Harper, and Preller met with the slugger along with general partner Peter Seidler and manager Andy Green in Las Vegas last month, per Acee. Although San Diego would be thrilled to land either player, the club has a much greater need for a third baseman than another corner outfielder.

The Padres have perhaps the best farm system in baseball, boasting a record 10 prospects on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list. That includes shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who ranks second overall. However, the club lacks an in-house answer at third base.

MLB.com's AJ Cassavell provides a look at how Machado, in particular, would fit with the Padres in both the short and long term, while Feinsand breaks down how the dominoes could fall for Harper (as well as Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel) if Machado goes to San Diego.

Video: MLB Now: Machado and the Padres meet a 2nd time

Are the Phillies still the favorites to land Harper or Machado?
Feb. 14: Even if the Phillies aren't necessarily the first choice for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, will one of the superstar free agents ultimately accept Philadelphia's offer?

Buster Olney predicted as much in an appearance Thursday on ESPN's "Get Up!" Olney also said the feeling is that the White Sox are a "safety net" for both players.

With both Harper and Machado reportedly seeking contracts in the range of 10 years for more than $300 million, the two have lingered on the free agent market. But Olney thinks each player will eventually land deals between 8 and 10 years.

Meanwhile, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak indicated Thursday that he is still monitoring the free-agent market but feels like the team accomplished its offseason goals by adding Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto and David Robertson.

"I think if you look at our offseason, we have done just about everything we've set out to do," Klentak said. "At the beginning of the offseason, we identified for sure that we wanted to improve the team defense. That was a flaw of our team last year and it was something we knew we needed to address. We wanted to address our ability to get good hitters out late in the game, particularly left-handed hitters. We think we've addressed that. We've addressed our offense in a couple of key places. And now we've taken care of locking up our best young player. A lot of years, that would be a very complete, thorough and successful offseason. And I really think that it is. The notion that we hear that if we fail to sign a big free agent then it's a failure of an offseason, I don't agree with that.

"Now, I say all that, I'm not trying to throw cold water on the idea that we may still sign a free agent. We are going to continue to explore that market because there's still several really good free agents out there."

According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, the belief in Clearwater is that the Phils' front office prefers Machado over Harper because of Machado's combination of offense and defense. However, the club remains in contact with each player's agent.

Video: Klentak discusses the free agents still on market

How big is White Sox offer to Machado?
Feb. 13: The White Sox look like they're still one of the favorites to land Manny Machado as Spring Training begins. But just how big is the offer they've put in front of him?

Several numbers have been floated throughout the offseason -- including a recent report from Dominican radio station Z101's Hector Gomez of an eight-year, $250 million offer, and an earlier report of a $175 million offer.

But MLB Network insider Jon Heyman thinks the real offer from Chicago to Machado is somewhere in between.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Have heard reported offer of 250M for 8 yrs for Machado by White Sox isn���t right. May or may not be close, but guess would be that at least today it���s a bit lower. Higher than 175 but lower than 250. At least at moment. (So yes, we still don���t have facts, just educated guesses.)

Heyman tweeted Tuesday that he's heard $250 million isn't right, although it might be close. He guesses the White Sox offer is higher than $175 million, but lower than $250 million, at least for the moment.

Meanwhile, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi suggests that, although he has not confirmed Gomez's report of an offer of $250 million over eight years, it's at least worth noting that nobody has denied those figures.

"Neither the White Sox nor Machado's camp have come out and denied that [report]," Morosi says. "That doesn't necessarily mean that it's true, but I think it has hung out there long enough that if someone was going to say, 'Hey, that's not the case,' we probably would have heard that by now. And we haven't."

Do Machado's new gloves hint at his potential destination?
Feb. 12: Those looking for any potential clue as to which team Manny Machado might choose in free agency may have gotten one Tuesday, when Rawlings' official Twitter account posted photos of Machado's personalized gloves for 2019.

Tweet from @RawlingsSports: Check out Manny Machado's gloves for this season! Where do you think he is going to play this season? Is the black and white a sign?? #TeamRawlings pic.twitter.com/GO1CNs57UT

Each glove is black and white, with some red for Rawlings' branding. It doesn't take a detective to notice that they look like the type of gloves Machado might choose if he was trying to sync up his equipment with the team colors of the White Sox, one of the clubs known to be in the mix for his services.

Now, perhaps Machado chose the neutral colors so as not to give anything away as far as his free-agent destination is concerned.

But it's worth noting that Machado did utilize gloves that matched the Orioles' colors in 2018, beginning the year with a primarily orange glove trimmed with black and then switching to a mostly black glove accented with orange. The infielder later moved to a tan and black glove and stuck with it after being traded to the Dodgers in July.

Does this actually mean anything? Maybe not. But it's fun to speculate.

Yankees staying in on Machado
Feb. 11: As the Yankees prepare to open camp, their front office continues to check in on Machado, according to a report from SNY's Andy Martino on Monday.

Martino writes that the frontrunners to land Machado remain the White Sox and Phillies. But the Yankees are still in.

Per the report, those close to Machado think he'll go to the team that makes him the largest offer, and that's not expected to be New York. One person close to Machado told Martino that the Yankees' offer is "low" compared to what Machado wants.

But the Bronx Bombers are always a threat to make a big free-agent splash, especially if general manager Brian Cashman sees a window open in the market to make an opportunistic play.

If Machado signed with the Yankees, it would be to play third base, per Martino's report. Sources told Martino that the shortstop job is Troy Tulowitzki's if he's healthy. With Machado at third, Miguel Andujar could even move to first base.

One GM's prediction: Harper to Padres, Machado to Phillies
Feb. 11: Where will Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign? The top question of the offseason will now become one of the top questions of Spring Training as pitchers and catchers report MLB-wide this week.

While both players' markets are still somewhat shrouded in mystery, one MLB general manager offered up his prediction to SNY's Andy Martino recently. In said GM's opinion, Harper is going to sign with the Padres, and Machado with the Phillies.

Tweet from @martinonyc: Asked this exact question of an MLB GM the other day and he said Harper to Padres, Machado to Phillies. But honestly, no one really knows yet. https://t.co/Y0wU6FHShj

San Diego recently entered the mix for Harper, meeting with the outfielder at the end of January. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is one of two clubs -- along with the White Sox -- that are known to be engaged with both Harper and Machado.

Harper also recently met with another National League West team, the Giants, in Las Vegas, and "there has been an increased sense among some in the clubhouse that Harper prefers" San Francisco, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Do Yankees need Harper or Machado to ensure they "finish the job" in '19?
Feb. 10: The Yankees have made several additions to their roster this offseason to bolster it ahead of another run at reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009. But despite bringing in the likes of James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu, while also re-signing J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia and Zack Britton, is it enough to overtake the powerhouse Red Sox?

MLB.com's Mike Lupica writes that while it may be, the question with superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still on the free-agent market is: How much farther would the organization go financially in order to tilt the scales more sharply in its favor? Signing Harper or Machado would certainly do that, but neither will come cheap, and the Yankees are already at a $220 million payroll.

"Yankees fans want [owner Hal] Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman to finish the job this season," writes Lupica. "[If] it turns out that they haven't spent enough, and Machado or Harper might make all the difference, Yankees fans aren't going to want to hear about how fiscally responsible the team is being." More >

Video: Harper, Machado keep Yankees on their radar

What would an Arenado extension mean for Machado?
Feb. 8: The Rockies are optimistic they will be able to sign their superstar third baseman, Nolan Arenado, to a contract extension soon, as club owner Dick Monfort told MLB.com's Thomas Harding last week. If Colorado is able to secure Arenado for the long term, how might that impact two superstars still on the free-agent market in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado?

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand writes that Arenado's extension could set a new average annual value record for position players, and if it does, Harper and Machado could benefit.

"It depends on the numbers, but I would expect the agents to fight to be above [Arenado's deal]," one AL general manager told Feinsand.

Beyond the AAV, the length of a potential Arenado extension, which could keep the 27-year-old in Denver through his mid-30s, could be a boon for Harper and Machado as well, as they seek deals that would exceed 10 years and $300 million.

Feinsand also delves into how an Arenado extension would impact this summer's trade market, as well as next offseason's free-agent market. More >

Machado faces "staring contest" ahead of Spring Training
Feb. 8: The sweepstakes for what was touted to be one of the biggest free-agent classes in history remains at a standstill just days before clubs report to Spring Training. And the root of the impasse, for Manny Machado (and Bryce Harper) at least, seems to be easy to decipher: dollars. 

In a Friday piece for The Athletic (subscription required), MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal outlined the many factors as to why both players remain unsigned with roughly seven weeks left until Opening Day. Rosenthal reports that both are still seeking a deal in excess of $300 million, and given their limited pool of suitors, that figure could remain difficult to attain. 

Rosenthal adds that "neither wants to sign first, knowing once one of the players goes off the board, the other will benefit from gaining the sole attention of the remaining suitors" and that  "the clubs, too, prefer to stall."

The Phillies and White Sox have been the clubs most prominently linked to both players, and though the Padres emerged as an interested party in each last week, San Diego may have just been doing its due diligence late in the offseason. 

Rosenthal writes that Philly has conviction that it will land one or the other, with the financial bandwidth capable of topping any offer either player might otherwise receive. And White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Rosenthal adds, would prefer to wait out the market to glean a firm gauge on what either player will cost, then determine whether he's willing to meet that figure.  

How Realmuto to Philly could affect Machado
Feb. 7: While the Phillies continue to pursue free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the club made another big move to bolster its roster Thursday, acquiring catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins in a four-player deal. With the ambitious team looking to propel its way to contention, adding the game's top backstop could affect its leverage with not just Harper, but also Machado.

As MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal points out, the determining factor for Machado and Harper will likely still be dollars. 

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: #Phillies view Realmuto, if acquired, as another potential enticement for Harper or Machado. Obviously, the biggest enticement will be money. https://t.co/N2R1wgL29U

But adding to an already strong positional nucleus -- Realmuto will join shortstop Jean Segura, left fielder Andrew McCutchen and closer David Robertson as Philly's prized offseason acquisitions (so far) -- certainly doesn't hurt Philadelphia's chances.

It's unclear what the Phillies have offered to both Harper and Machado, but multiple reports have shared that Machado turned down a seven-year, $175 million deal from the White Sox recently and Harper turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Nats at the end of the regular season. 

It's believed that, because their markets haven't gained much traction, the Phils are playing a waiting game of sorts while holding most of the leverage.

Although adding Realmuto makes the team's need for Harper or Machado less acute, it doesn't sound as though Philadelphia is backing out of the race for either player.

"This doesn't take us out of the free-agent market by any stretch," general manager Matt Klentak said Thursday, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Tweet from @BNightengale: Philadelphia #Phillies GM Matt Klentak, when asked if the JT Realmuto acquisition will have any impact on a certain couple of free agents: "This doesn���t take us out of the free-agent market by any stretch.'' #Harper #Machado

On Thursday, Baseball Prospectus released its 2019 PECOTA projections and forecasted that the Phils would win 84 games, tied with the Braves for third in the National League East behind the Mets and Nationals, who are each projected to win 89 games. But those forecasts did not include the acquisition of Realmuto, who is projected to be worth 3.8 Wins Above Replacement, according to Steamer

Do Phillies, White Sox hold most leverage with the big two?
Feb. 6: Each passing day in which Machado and Bryce Harper don't sign makes it seemingly more unlikely that they'll get the record deal they originally coveted. And ESPN's Buster Olney (subscription required) also speculates that it could give their most public suitors, the Phillies and White Sox, more and more leverage.

Olney cites the Red Sox's courtship of J.D. Martinez last year, in which the superstar hitter didn't sign until late February for a $110 million deal that was far below his original goal. Harper and Machado's agents, Scott Boras and Dan Lozano, are the only people who know the specifics of the offers extended to their clients so far, and just how many mystery teams are also in the mix. But Olney, citing interviews with those around the industry, speculates that the Phillies in particular have the most leverage because they are the only team that has expressed serious interest in both stars.

"If you're the Phillies and you don't believe you have [serious] competition for both of them, you're just sitting and waiting," one agent told Olney. "Even if one of them signs [with another team], the other guy probably needs you, at your number."

The Dodgers and Yankees have barely engaged with either star, with New York only going so far as to meet with Machado in December without extending a formal offer. The entrance of other "mystery teams," like the Padres and -- as was revealed Wednesday -- the Giants, only weakens Harper and Machado's positions, says Olney, because it signals that they haven't received an offer convincing enough to sign.

"If I'm in [Boras'] position, I'm working like crazy to make sure that doesn't [leak] out," a club official told Olney of the Padres' recent entrance to the sweepstakes, "because it smells desperate. It makes it seem like you don't have as much as you thought you would."

Teams like the Padres might be jumping in simply because they perceive they can get a bargain deal at this late juncture of the offseason, which doesn't help Harper and Machado in their quest for $250 million or more. Whatever contract those players sign will be set as the new industry standard for another crop of talented free agents -- which includes Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt if they don't sign extensions -- next offseason.

Is Machado still holding out hope for Yankees offer?
Feb. 5: The Phillies, White Sox and Padres are the primary clubs believed to be suitors for free agent Manny Machado, but is the infielder holding out hope that a certain team will rejoin the race?

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman has heard that Machado isn't thrilled with his current offers and still may be hoping to sign with the Yankees, who reportedly are his preferred destination.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Keep hearing in Miami circles that Machado isn���t thrilled with his offers, and may still have long-shot hopes for the preferred Yankees (unlikely to happen now). Anyway @Joelsherman1 has another idea for him. https://t.co/jUXImGBJgo

New York met with Machado in December but then proceeded to ink shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and second baseman DJ LeMahieu, seemingly lessening the need for the 26-year-old, who still hadn't received a formal offer from the Yanks as of last week, according to Wallace Matthews of the New York Daily News.

Where things could get interesting, however, is if the Rockies wind up signing their star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who is eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, to a long-term extension in the coming days. There have been multiple reports suggesting the Yankees have serious interest in targeting Arenado at some point between mid-2019 (via trade, if Colorado falls out of contention) and next offseason (when he's on the open market).

If that possibility goes away, would New York revisit Machado? SNY's Andy Martino thinks it's a possibility.

Tweet from @martinonyc: If Arenado ends up agreeing to an extension with Colorado, will it make the Yankees take a harder look at Machado? Given that it will take $240-260 million to extend NA, and Yanks don't seem to want to go there on MM, it's hard to see. But MM's desire to play for Yanks is known

Rockies owner, chairman and CEO Dick Monfort told MLB.com that the club was at "the finals" in its extension discussions with Arenado, meaning he could end up inking a deal before Machado does.

Video: Rosenthal talks Arenado-Rockies discussing a deal

Machado may be better positional fit, but are Padres leaning toward Harper?
Feb. 2: The Padres have become surprising players in the sweepstakes to sign either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, showing genuine interest in both and even meeting with the latter Thursday, according to multiple reports.

But which free-agent star looks like the better fit for a rebuilding San Diego club?

"This isn't New York," MLB.com's AJ Cassavell writes in weighing the Harper or Machado question and referring to the Yankees' star-filled outfield. "The Padres don't have Aaron Judge  and Giancarlo Stanton  taking up playing time in the outfield corners. They have Wil Myers Hunter Renfroe Franmil Reyes  and Franchy Cordero . Those are good young players with potential. But certainly not enough to preclude the signing of a franchise-altering talent."

In other words, San Diego may have some outfield surplus as is, but not to the point -- and not with the level of talent -- that it would preclude the team from getting Harper, if that's a possibility. Presumably, if the Padres were to land Harper, he would start in right field, leaving the other two outfield spots to a competition between Myers, Renfroe and Reyes in left and Cordero and Manuel Margot in center. Also? It would give the club the opportunity to trade one of those outfielders to address other areas of need.

Speaking of that, third base clearly is one. Hence, the Padres' interest in Machado.

"Yes, technically Machado is a better fit," Cassavell adds. "Third base is the biggest long-term hole in San Diego's offense, and if Machado fills it, that's a huge statement. But the Padres also aren't merely one piece away from contention. They're still waiting on the arrival of some top prospects and the development of some young hitters."

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports that the Padres may be leaning toward Harper, specifically because of off-the-field factors. The first is that ownership is putting special emphasis on Harper's star power, viewing him as a business and marketing opportunity in addition to an upgrade on the field. The second is that Machado is believed to prefer staying closer to the East Coast.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Padres ownership is said to view Bryce Harper as a business/marketing opportunity and despite the positional need at 3B may now lean toward Harper over Machado (also Manny not want to go west). Question now is whether San Diego could outbid a team with stupid $ (plus others).

The question, as Heyman notes, is whether the Padres are willing to get into a bidding war with the Phillies and other clubs for Harper's services.

Manny Machado

The latest Harper free-agent rumors

MLB.com

After a seven-season tenure with the Nationals that included a National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, an NL MVP Award in 2015 and six All-Star nods, Bryce Harper is now a free agent for the first time.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

After a seven-season tenure with the Nationals that included a National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, an NL MVP Award in 2015 and six All-Star nods, Bryce Harper is now a free agent for the first time.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

How close is Harper to making his choice?
Feb. 16: Make of this what you will, but a report started circulating and gaining some steam Friday afternoon that Bryce Harper just might be on the verge of finding a new home.

Maybe.

In a conversation with radio station 94WIP in Philadelphia about the superstar free agent's situation, Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan, a radio station in Washington, D.C., speculated Friday that Harper could be making up his mind very, very soon.

"Maybe I took a little bit of a leap of faith here based on some indications I got from a real good source," said Russell, who has heard that Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, as well as his wife have been meeting since Monday in his hometown of Las Vegas. "But I'm led to believe by the people that I've talked to that are close to the situation -- and I have, again, a real good source that has helped me through this process, let's just leave it at that -- that Bryce was in a mood to celebrate yesterday. Now, the source said, 'I believe it's done.'

"I don't have concrete, 100 percent proof for you guys," Russell continued. "I wish I did, otherwise I would have it and I would be running around with it. ... But that's what I was led to believe, that this thing is now decided."

To a certain extent, that meshes with information coming from former big league general manager Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ and The Athletic, who says the Phillies are viewed as the clear favorite for Harper, followed by the Nationals.

"I keep hearing there's a lot of momentum and traction here on [Harper] going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies," Bowden said. "He could be rounding third and heading home shortly."

Tweet from @CBSSportsHQ: "I keep hearing there's a lot of momentum and traction here on [Bryce Harper] going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies.He could be rounding third and heading home shortly."-@JimBowdenGM says Bryce Harper could be making his announcement very soon. pic.twitter.com/WxIFU275Zr

Meanwhile, Harper commented on an Instagram post by Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins on Friday, which showed Hoskins walking with bat and glove at the Phillies' Spring Training complex in Clearwater, Fla. Harper's comment was "suhhhhh kiiiiiiid."

Tweet from @JClarkNBCS: Bryce Harper commenting on Rhys Hoskins Instagram!!!! 👀 🤔 #Phillies ������������🌴 pic.twitter.com/gdDiLBEUzz

The speculation indeed continues to swirl around Harper. As it does, we'll keep you up to date on the latest.

Don't count Yanks out on Harper or Machado
Feb. 16: Even as Spring Training has begun and the Yankees have already made several moves to upgrade a roster that won 100 games last year, don't count New York out when it comes to the two premier free agents remaining on the market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

"I wouldn't say specifically, but I would reinforce, I'm doing my job," general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday. "Whether that's those two players or other players that aren't as significant name value, the job at hand is to constantly be open-minded to ways to make this work the best it can possibly work. ... We like what we've done to this point, but we're never a finished product."

The Yankees already have a full outfield with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and an injured Jacoby Ellsbury. Signing Harper would necessitate some reshuffling. With respect to Machado, the Yankees have added multiple infielders already, signing free agents Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu. Tulowitzki is expected to open the season at shortstop as Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery, and LeMahieu is expected to play a super-utility role.

Then again, this is the Yankees, a team that can really never be counted out on big free agents, regardless of the situation. 

Here's how Harper could fit with Yankees
Feb. 15: The Yankees have made several additions this offseason to bolster their roster ahead of another run at reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009. The club has brought in the likes of James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu and brough back J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia and Zack Britton. But is that enough to overtake the powerhouse Red Sox?

While it may be, with superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still on the free-agent market, MLB.com's Mike Lupica asks: How much farther would the organization go financially to tilt the scales more sharply in its favor? Signing Harper or Machado certainly would do that, but neither will come cheap, and the Yankees already have a payroll in the $220 million range.

"Yankees fans want [owner Hal] Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman to finish the job this season," Lupica writes. "[If] it turns out that they haven't spent enough, and Machado or Harper might make all the difference, Yankees fans aren't going to want to hear about how fiscally responsible the team is being." More >

Here's a look at how Harper, in particular, could fit into the Yankees' roster and lineup, courtesy of MLB.com's Andrew Simon.

Video: Harper, Machado keep Yankees on their radar

Are Phillies still front-runners for Harper or Machado?
Feb. 15: Even if the Phillies aren't necessarily the first choice for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, will one of the superstar free agents ultimately accept Philadelphia's offer?

Buster Olney predicted as much on ESPN's "Get Up!," saying the feeling is that the White Sox are a "safety net" for both players.

With both Harper and Machado reportedly seeking contracts in the range of 10 years for more than $300 million, the two have lingered on the free agent market. But Olney thinks both players eventually will land deals between 8 and 10 years.

Meanwhile, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak indicated that he is still monitoring the open market but feels like the team accomplished its offseason goals by adding Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto and David Robertson.

"I think if you look at our offseason, we have done just about everything we've set out to do," Klentak said. "At the beginning of the offseason, we identified for sure that we wanted to improve the team defense. That was a flaw of our team last year and it was something we knew we needed to address. We wanted to address our ability to get good hitters out late in the game, particularly left-handed hitters. We think we've addressed that. We've addressed our offense in a couple of key places. And now we've taken care of locking up our best young player. A lot of years, that would be a very complete, thorough and successful offseason. And I really think that it is. The notion that we hear that if we fail to sign a big free agent then it's a failure of an offseason, I don't agree with that.

"Now, I say all that, I'm not trying to throw cold water on the idea that we may still sign a free agent. We are going to continue to explore that market because there's still several really good free agents out there."

The belief in Clearwater is that the Phils' front office prefers Machado over Harper because of the former's combination of offense and defense, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. However, the club remains in contact with each player's agent.

Video: Klentak discusses the free agents still on market

Which teams have the best chance at landing Harper?
Feb. 13: Bryce Harper has been connected to several teams since the offseason began, but while a few clubs have emerged to be seen as frontrunners, which teams have the best chance to land the superstar free agent? MLB.com's Mark Feinsand ranked every potential landing spot for Harper based on the likelihood that the club signs him.

The "longshots" on Feinsand's list are the Cubs, Yankees, and Giants, with San Francisco being the most recent club to join the Harper Sweepstakes by meeting with him in Las Vegas last week. The next category up is "contenders," in which Feinsand places the Padres and White Sox. San Diego is also a recent entrant into the "Harper Bazaar" as his agent, Scott Boras, called it early in the offseason, and also sent a delegation to meet with Harper. The White Sox have shown serious interest this offseason in both Harper and fellow 26-year-old free agent Manny Machado, even though Chicago is currently in the middle of a rebuild with a lot of talent in the pipeline.

Finally, in the "favorites" category are the Phillies and Harper's former team, the Nationals. Philadelphia made it no secret at the start of the offseason that it intended to spend big. Washington reportedly offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million contract at the end of last season, which he declined, but it has been reported since then that the Nats increased their offer substantially and are definitely in the running.

"The Phillies have been the odds-on favorites to land Harper and/or Machado from the outset of the offseason, and many believe they will still ultimately sign one of them," writes Feinsand. "Last week's trade for J.T. Realmuto made the Phillies' roster even more attractive for a free agent, though some have wondered whether either Harper or Machado wants to play in Philly."

With respect to the Nationals, Feinsand writes that "the consensus is that Boras will give Nationals ownership a chance to exceed [or at least match] the biggest offer before Harper signs elsewhere." More >

Video: When will Harper and Machado sign new deals?

Is Harper open to a short-term deal?
Feb. 13: While it has been reported that the Giants are hoping to sign Bryce Harper to a shorter-term contract, the star slugger "is not signing -- or even considering -- short-term deals," according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Despite rumored offers/wishes of teams, word is Bryce Harper is not signing ��� or even considering ��� short-term deals.

That is similar to what MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi is hearing. "According to what I was told by a source, Harper is not actively discussing a short-term deal right now with the Giants," Morosi says. "At this point in time, Harper's mindset is still the longer-term deal. I think if Harper was going to sign a short-term deal, if that was a preference of his, he would have done so by now."

ESPN's Buster Olney reports that there's even skepticism among some of the people involved in the discussions that the Giants would generate the type of offer that will sway the slugger to pick San Francisco.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: There continues to be skepticism among some of the folks involved in the Giants/Harper conversation that San Francisco would generate the kind of offer that would sway the slugger. More smoke than fire at this point, in eyes of some involved.

Still, USA Today's Bob Nightengale thinks that the club is a strong place, telling San Francisco radio station KNBR that the Giants and Phillies look like the finalists to land the superstar outfielder.

"Right now, I really do think it's the Giants and the Phillies. It's a two-team race here," said Nightengale, who thinks San Francisco and Philadelphia are neck and neck. "With the Giants moving in and all the optimism, I do believe it's a coin flip," Nightengale said. "I think for the Phillies to get Harper, they're going to have to grossly outbid the Giants to get him. I really do. I think if it's close, he goes to San Francisco. If there's a huge gap, it's tough to walk away from that kind of money."

On the other hand, Nightengale believes the Nationals and Dodgers -- two of the other suitors most strongly linked to Harper this offseason -- are "definitely out of it."

The Giants did make a move to address their outfield Tuesday, bringing in Gerardo Parra on a Minor League deal. While Parra has a good chance to make the team, a source told Morosi that the Giants, who have a full 40-man roster, remain hopeful to sign Harper and didn't want to add another outfielder to their 40-man roster until Harper's situation is settled. Hence, the Minor League contract for Parra.

Video: MLB Tonight on Harper not looking for short-term deal

Could Giants add Harper and still go through rebuild?
Feb. 11: The Giants recently entered the race for Bryce Harper, sparking comparisons to the 1992-93 offseason, when San Francisco signed Barry Bonds after a 72-90 season.

With Bonds in the fold, the Giants won 103 games in 1993. Could Harper lead this San Francisco club to a similar turnaround and help the franchise get another few postseason runs from its aging core? Perhaps that's what new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and team president and CEO Larry Baer are hoping.

However, MLB Network insider Joel Sherman suggests that signing Harper could be a "middle-ground move" that keeps the club relevant while Zaidi reconstructs the roster.

"I wonder if the Giants are in this right now because they looked left and right and said, 'Well, Bryce Harper's still out there.'" Sherman said Monday on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" program. "'Should we at least put our toe in the water and see if we can do this at a level that we like? Because he's young enough to be part of our next good team, and he's star enough to keep our fans interested in the painful period that's likely to come over the next two to three years.'"

In Sherman's view, it would be surprising if the Giants stuck with the status quo, considering the hiring of Zaidi was the organization's way of breaking free from an old-fashioned thought process and ushering in a new era. But Harper could at least prevent the club from bottoming out and losing more fans and viewers in the interim.

"When you're in a market like San Francisco, where you're selling out every day, where TV ratings do matter, where you're in competition with the 49ers and the championship Warriors, you want to make sure you don't bleed out in the two- or three- or four-year period where they're [rebuilding]."

Video: Joel Sherman on the Giants' interest in Harper

One GM's prediction: Harper to Padres, Machado to Phillies
Feb. 11: Where will Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign? The top question of the offseason will now become one of the top questions of Spring Training as pitchers and catchers report MLB-wide this week.

While both players' markets are still somewhat shrouded in mystery, one MLB general manager offered up his prediction to SNY's Andy Martino recently. In said GM's opinion, Harper is going to sign with the Padres, and Machado with the Phillies.

Tweet from @martinonyc: Asked this exact question of an MLB GM the other day and he said Harper to Padres, Machado to Phillies. But honestly, no one really knows yet. https://t.co/Y0wU6FHShj

San Diego recently entered the mix for Harper, meeting with the outfielder at the end of January. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is one of two clubs -- along with the White Sox -- that are known to be engaged with both Harper and Machado.

Harper also recently met with another National League West team, the Giants, in Las Vegas, and "there has been an increased sense among some in the clubhouse that Harper prefers" San Francisco, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Report: Giants prefer short-term deal for Harper
Feb. 10: The Giants have emerged as a serious contender for Bryce Harper in the past week, but USA Today's Bob Nightengale writes that the club has "no desire" to make Harper an offer approaching the 10-year, $300 million deal he reportedly rejected from the Nationals in September. Rather, San Francisco plans to make Harper a lucrative short-term offer.

Of course, as Nightengale notes, ownership was willing to take on $265 million of Giancarlo Stanton's contract last offseason if it acquired him from the Marlins, so it's possible the Giants will be open to investing that type of money in Harper as well.

Harper was a popular topic during the Giants' annual FanFest at Oracle Park on Saturday. The club's CEO, Larry Baer, declined to make any predictions about where Harper will land, but did say the meeting Giants executives had with him earlier this week in Las Vegas went well and lasted four hours, longer than either side expected. Baer also said the Giants are "giving it a shot."

Video: Giants CEO Baer discusses interest in Harper

According to NBC Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, Harper spoke of his admiration of catcher Buster Posey during the meeting, and "there has been an increased sense among some in the clubhouse that Harper prefers the Giants."

On Sunday, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr chimed in during a press conference, saying, "Bryce, come to San Francisco. Let's go."

Tweet from @NBCSWarriors: Coach Kerr has a message for you, @Bharper3407 😏 pic.twitter.com/KpNthKUBtM

The Giants, along with the Dodgers and Padres, are among the clubs closest to Harper's home in Las Vegas. A move to sign Harper wouldn't be unprecedented for the franchise; San Francisco plucked a 28-year-old Barry Bonds off the market in late 1992 with a six-year, $44 million contract that was, at that time, the largest in baseball history. The following season, the club won 103 games.

"There is obviously mutual interest on both sides," Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Friday. "We thought it made sense to get together. We had a good conversation over a few hours. He's obviously got a lot of suitors and a lot of interest. He's going to have some decisions to make. I think it's fair to say that was an expression of our interest level, to make the trip out there to meet with him. You don't make a trip out there to meet with a player just for show."

Zaidi, though, wouldn't go as far as saying whether the team has made a formal offer to Harper.

Video: MLB Tonight on Harper's meeting with the Giants

What would an Arenado extension mean for Harper?
Feb. 9: The Rockies are optimistic they will be able to sign their superstar third baseman, Nolan Arenado, to a contract extension soon, as club owner Dick Monfort told MLB.com's Thomas Harding last week. If Colorado is able to secure Arenado for the long term, how might that impact two superstars still on the free-agent market in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado?

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand writes that Arenado's extension could set a new average annual value record for position players, and if it does, Harper and Machado could benefit.

"It depends on the numbers, but I would expect the agents to fight to be above [Arenado's deal]," one AL general manager told Feinsand.

Beyond the AAV, the length of a potential Arenado extension, which could keep the 27-year-old in Denver through his mid-30s, could be a boon for Harper and Machado as well, as they seek deals that would exceed 10 years and $300 million.

Feinsand also delves into how an Arenado extension would impact this summer's trade market, as well as next offseason's free-agent market. More >

Harper faces "staring contest" ahead of Spring Training
Feb. 8: The sweepstakes for what was touted to be one of the biggest free-agent classes in history remains at a standstill just days before clubs report to Spring Training. And the root of the impasse, for Bryce Harper (and Manny Machado) at least, seems to be easy to decipher: dollars. 

In a Friday piece for The Athletic (subscription required), MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal outlined the many factors as to why both players remain unsigned with roughly seven weeks left until Opening Day. Rosenthal reports that both are still seeking a deal in excess of $300 million, and given their limited pool of suitors, that figure could remain difficult to attain. 

Rosenthal adds that "neither wants to sign first, knowing once one of the players goes off the board, the other will benefit from gaining the sole attention of the remaining suitors" and that  "the clubs, too, prefer to stall."

The Phillies and White Sox have been the clubs most prominently linked to both players, and though the Padres emerged as an interested party in each last week, San Diego may have just been doing its due diligence late in the offseason. 

Rosenthal writes that Philly has conviction that it will land one or the other, with the financial bandwidth capable of topping any offer either player might otherwise receive. And White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Rosenthal adds, would prefer to wait out to the market to glean a firm gauge on what either player will cost, then determine if he's willing to meet that figure.  

Could Realmuto acquisition sway Harper to sign with Phils?
Feb. 8: If the Phillies wanted to gain even more leverage in their pursuit of Bryce Harper, trading for a player that Harper has publicly admired for years certainly couldn't hurt. The Phils continued their promising offseason by adding All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto on Thursday, which should help bolster a lineup that was already projected to win 84 games, according to PECOTA forecasts from Baseball Prospectus. 

Video: IT discusses Phils getting Realmuto, eyeing Harper

It wasn't long ago that Harper publicly expressed frustration with the Nationals failing to land Realmuto ahead of last summer's non-waiver Trade Deadline. But Washington's surprisingly sustained level of disappointment prompted the club to sell instead of buy. And in a game against the Marlins three days before the Deadline, in which Realmuto drove in the winning run, Harper told reporters after: "If that guy was on our side, it wouldn't have happened."

Additionally, at the All-Star Game a few weeks prior, Harper playfully placed a Nats cap on Realmuto's head while the National League club was posing for a photo.  

Bryce Harper is a big fan of new Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto

So, while Harper's decision will likely come down to dollars more than anything, it can't hurt the Phils' chances that they acquired an All-Star talent that Harper has made it clear he's a fan of. 

How Realmuto to Philly could affect Harper
Feb. 7: While the Phillies continue to pursue free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the club made another big move to bolster its roster Thursday, acquiring catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins in a four-player deal. With the ambitious team looking to propel its way to contention, adding the game's top backstop could affect its leverage with not just Harper, but also Machado.

As MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal points out, the determining factor for Harper and Machado will likely still be dollars.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: #Phillies view Realmuto, if acquired, as another potential enticement for Harper or Machado. Obviously, the biggest enticement will be money. https://t.co/N2R1wgL29U

But adding to an already strong positional nucleus -- Realmuto will join shortstop Jean Segura, left fielder Andrew McCutchen and closer David Robertson as Philly's prized offseason acquisitions (so far) -- certainly doesn't hurt Philadelphia's chances.

It's unclear what the Phillies have offered to both Harper and Machado, but multiple reports have shared that Harper turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Nats at the end of the regular season, and Machado turned down a seven-year, $175 million deal from the White Sox recently. 

It's believed that, because their markets haven't gained much traction, the Phils are playing a waiting game of sorts while holding most of the leverage. 

Although adding Realmuto makes the team's need for Harper or Machado less acute, it doesn't sound as though Philadelphia is backing out of the race for either player.

"This doesn't take us out of the free-agent market by any stretch," general manager Matt Klentak said Thursday, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Tweet from @BNightengale: Philadelphia #Phillies GM Matt Klentak, when asked if the JT Realmuto acquisition will have any impact on a certain couple of free agents: "This doesn���t take us out of the free-agent market by any stretch.'' #Harper #Machado

Meanwhile, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports that according to an official with one of the teams pursuing Harper, the superstar's decision does not appear to be imminent. Further, Morosi notes that according to a source familiar with the Nationals' thinking, Washington may be wary of losing Harper to the Phillies, in particular, given that the two are National League East rivals. That may cause the Nats to up their bid for Harper in the event he is close to signing with Philadelphia.

On Thursday, Baseball Prospectus released its 2019 PECOTA projections and forecasted that the Phils would win 84 games, tied with the Braves for third in the National League East behind the Mets and Nationals, who are each projected to win 89 games. But those forecasts did not include the acquisition of Realmuto, who is projected to be worth 3.8 Wins Above Replacement, according to Steamer

As Harper and Machado remain unsigned, Steinbrenner not ruling out another big addition
Feb. 7: Although Yankees manager Aaron Boone said earlier this week that he thought the team's roster was set for 2019, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner is leaving the door open for another big acquisition.

"I don't think it's ever done," Steinbrenner said Thursday, according to Newsday. "Look, if somebody comes -- I haven't changed -- I mean if somebody comes to me with a suggestion or a proposal, I'm going to seriously consider it right up until Opening Day or after. That's part of my leave-no-stone-unturned [policy], right? But I'm excited about the roster. I think we've definitely got a better club Opening Day than we did Opening Day last year, particularly in pitching, which was my biggest area of concern."

The Yankees have had a busy offseason, adding James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu and re-signing CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ and Zack Britton.

But as long as superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain available, the deep-pocketed Yanks will continue to loom as a potential suitor, no matter how unlikely that seems right now.

"Fans should keep an open mind that I'm never done until I'm done, and that's not usually until Opening Day," Steinbrenner said. "Proposals come to me every day with these guys, between the analytics guys and the pro scouting guys, and I'm going to consider every single one of them. But I have to look at the big picture and it is my responsibility that my family expects and my partners expect not just to look at the present, but to look at the future, too. Three, four, five years from now, we've got a lot of homegrown kids that we love, our fans love, that are going to be coming up for free agency and that's something I've got to keep in mind as well."

The Yanks have been more closely connected to Machado this offseason, meeting with him in December. Meanwhile, general manager Brian Cashman did his part to quash any speculation that the Yanks were secretly in on Harper, noting that the club already has a glut of outfielders.

If there's still any chance that Harper could become a Yankee, Aaron Judge is willing to do what it takes to make that possibility a reality. Judge told TMZ Sports on Monday that he would consider moving to center field to clear a spot for Harper, if that was indeed something that could put New York over the top in the Harper sweepstakes.

"Wherever he wants to play, we'll make it work," Judge said. "Anytime you can add an MVP to a team, it's going to make it better."

Tweet from @MLB: Is the outfield at Yankee Stadium big enough? https://t.co/djpnbm1PnR pic.twitter.com/Z4ImkOebr5

 

Giants reportedly adding Maybin to OF mix

MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Four days after signing Gerardo Parra, the Giants are close to adding another veteran reinforcement to their crop of outfielders.

The Giants are working to finalize a Minor League deal with outfielder Cameron Maybin, MLB.com has confirmed. Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic were the first to report news of the pending deal.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Four days after signing Gerardo Parra, the Giants are close to adding another veteran reinforcement to their crop of outfielders.

The Giants are working to finalize a Minor League deal with outfielder Cameron Maybin, MLB.com has confirmed. Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic were the first to report news of the pending deal.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Maybin plays all three outfield spots and can serve as a right-handed-hitting complement to Steven Duggar in center field. The 31-year-old batted .249 with a .662 OPS, four home runs and 10 stolen bases in 129 games between the Marlins and Mariners in 2018.

A first-round Draft pick of the Tigers in 2005, Maybin has played for the Padres, Marlins, Tigers, Angels, Mariners, Braves and Astros over his 12-year career in the Majors.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi had wanted to add multiple established outfielders this offseason, and he has now seemingly accomplished that goal by acquiring Parra and Maybin this week.

While Parra and Maybin will be brought into camp as non-roster invitees, they are likely to make the Opening Day roster given the youth and inexperience of the rest of the Giants' outfield contingent, which includes Duggar, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Chris Shaw and Rule 5 Draft pick Drew Ferguson.

Worth noting

• Manager Bruce Bochy has liked what he's seen so far from switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, who joined the Giants on a one-year deal in December. Venditte, 33, alternated throwing from the right side and the left side during his first bullpen session earlier this week.

"He's got a nice angle," Bochy said. "He's pretty impressive really with what he's able to do and command it. It's a tough at-bat. You get the matchup. He's coming from behind the hitter on both sides. When he came up last year, he did a nice job for the Dodgers. He threw the ball well."

Video: CIN@LAD: Venditte looks impressive in Dodgers debut

When will Bochy use Venditte?

"Probably when I'm stuck and I don't know what matchup I want," Bochy joked. "I'll just put him out there, and I can't get questioned on it."

• Dan Fouts, the Hall of Fame quarterback who spent his entire career with the San Diego Chargers, visited Giants camp Saturday and spent some time chatting with Bochy.

"He usually stops by and spends a day with us in the spring," Bochy said. "It's always good to see him. He's a big Giants fan."

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.

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