Why don't the Phillies just pick either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper and give them what they want? What is taking so long to sign one of these free agents?
-- Tony G., Eldersburg, Md.
It would be awesome if Phillies general manager Matt Klentak called up agents Scott Boras or Dan Lozano today and said, "How much do you want? Let's wrap this up now." But then I imagine having pockets full of cash, walking into a car dealership and telling the salesperson, "I'm leaving this lot today in a new car. Name your price."
Sure, you want the DeLorean, but you need the gas money, too.
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Nobody knows what offers are on the table, other than the agents, players and teams involved. Are Boras and Lozano asking for too much, or are teams lowballing two of the greatest players in baseball? The truth is probably somewhere in the middle: The agents have not seen anything they feel they can accept, while teams are waiting for the asking prices to drop. Unfortunately, this game of chicken is dragging into February, with Phillies pitchers and catchers holding their first workout on Feb. 13. Hopefully it ends before March 1.
But I still believe Philadelphia will get one of the two. I wrote the other day that the front office probably still prefers Machado because of his combination of offense and defense, but Harper's impressive meeting with the Phillies in Las Vegas in early January at least leveled the playing field. If the Phils can reach an agreement with Harper first, they will move forward with him. They just want one of these guys.
Do you think the Phillies will sign both Machado and Harper? Opening Day would be rocking if they did.
-- Gloria R., Turnersville, N.J.
The Phillies continue to say they will sign only one of the two because they want to maintain some semblance of financial flexibility for the future. But the longer this continues, the more I wonder. What if the Phillies sign Harper to a record-breaking long-term contract and Machado still does not have an offer he likes? (Or vice versa.) Perhaps the Phils make an aggressive short-term offer to get both in uniform at the same time.
It is unlikely, but it's not so crazy, is it?
Are either Harper or Machado really worth 10 years and more than $300 million? Ten-year contracts almost always turn out badly, with the club saddled with a mediocre player in the last four years, or someone hurt or who doesn't care because he gets paid no matter what.
-- Dave, Spring Hill, Fla.
The Phillies know long-term deals rarely work in the club's favor, but Harper and Machado are just 26. Other mega contracts have been signed with players in their late 20s or early 30s. The idea that Harper and Machado still will be solid players when they are 33, 34 and 35 years old is not crazy. These are Hall of Fame talents, remember. They are special. If you're going to give somebody $300 million, it is probably one of these guys.
Would the Phillies be better off signing Marwin Gonzalez? I feel if they can bring him in, that would allow manager Gabe Kapler to be more flexible for specific matchups.
-- Peter T., St. Albans, W. Va.
As opposed to Harper or Machado? No, I want Harper or Machado over everybody else still on the market. Gonzalez clearly has value as a super-utility player, but the Phillies believe they already have that in Scott Kingery. The Phils expect Kingery to take a step forward offensively in 2019 as he bounces around the infield and outfield.
Why don't we hear about Jamie Moyer in Hall of Fame voting?
-- Herm F., Greencastle, Pa.
Moyer received only 2.4 percent of the vote in 2018, dropping him from future Baseball Writers' Association of America ballots.