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On The Move presented by Penske

Veteran reliever Storen joins KC on Minors deal

MLB.com

Veteran reliever Drew Storen on Friday agreed to a Minor League deal with the Royals.

According to a source, Storen's deal is $1.25 million if he's in the Majors with $900,000 of performance bonuses.

Veteran reliever Drew Storen on Friday agreed to a Minor League deal with the Royals.

According to a source, Storen's deal is $1.25 million if he's in the Majors with $900,000 of performance bonuses.

The right-hander is attempting to come back from Tommy John surgery after missing all of last season recovering from the December 2017 procedure.

Storen last pitched for the Reds, making 58 appearances in '17 with a 4.45 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old has also pitched for the Nationals, Blue Jays and Mariners over eight big league seasons.

David Adler is a reporter and researcher for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Kansas City Royals, Drew Storen

Crew plucks righty Jackson from Japan as NRI

Braun to stay in outfield for season; Houser's role to be determined
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- The Brewers on Friday added a reliever who has not pitched in the big leagues since 2015 to camp. But that doesn't mean he has not pitched some big games.

It was a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp for 31-year-old right-hander Jay Jackson, a one-time Brewers farmhand who was a September callup for San Diego in 2015, before he played the past three years in Japan for the Hiroshima Carp. That team won the league title all three years Jackson was there, and twice advanced to the Japan Series.

PHOENIX -- The Brewers on Friday added a reliever who has not pitched in the big leagues since 2015 to camp. But that doesn't mean he has not pitched some big games.

It was a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp for 31-year-old right-hander Jay Jackson, a one-time Brewers farmhand who was a September callup for San Diego in 2015, before he played the past three years in Japan for the Hiroshima Carp. That team won the league title all three years Jackson was there, and twice advanced to the Japan Series.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I think I can help," said Jackson.

Before heading to Japan, he pitched for five Major League organizations, including six starts for the Brewers' Triple-A Nashville affiliate in 2014. Overseas, he made 175 appearances with a 2.10 ERA and 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings, good enough to draw a cult following -- Jackson has a personalized logo, which adorned the T-shirt and cap he wore Friday -- and to draw interest from clubs including Milwaukee.

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Fun fact: New Brewers pitcher Jay Jackson has a logo! A friend created it while he was playing in Japan, and it took off. pic.twitter.com/2Kj2W9jeN1

From Jackson's perspective, the deal came together quickly. He was in Japan two days ago, spending time with his girlfriend and newborn son.

"It's been an experience, but it's been a great experience, to say the least," Jackson said.

Braun to stay in outfield
It does not sound like Ryan Braun will need his first baseman's mitt this spring. With Domingo Santana traded to the Mariners and Keon Broxton to the Mets over the winter, last year's outfield logjam has been cleared, and Braun is expected to remain mostly in left field this season.

"There could be games he gets over there because of how the game rolls," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "But, as we sit now, I don't see first base being a big part of his season. Spring Training is for exploring positional versatility, and we will do that with other guys. If we do it with Ryan, it's just because there may be a game [during the regular season] in the 13th inning where Ryan ends up at first base. You want to create as much comfort for him as possible.

"I'd say the same thing for Yasmani Grandal, or [Cory] Spangenberg in the outfield. Those things are going to happen."

Braun started at first base for each of the Brewers' first two games last season, then made only five more starts there the rest of the year as Jesus Aguilar claimed the position. Aguilar projects as the starter this season, with Eric Thames, Travis Shaw and Grandal all available to back up.

Tweet from @Brewers: Jes��s is out here spreading ������& 💙.#CactusCrew pic.twitter.com/B1naQnorRn

If there was any question about Thames' status entering this spring, Counsell cleared it up Friday.

"Eric's going to be on the team," Counsell said.

Houser's assignment TBD
Starter or reliever? Big leagues or Triple-A? For Brewers right-hander Adrian Houser, it's all up in the air.

Houser, one of the players acquired from Houston in the 2015 blockbuster trade that essentially started the Brewers' rebuild, learned over the offseason that by virtue of missing swaths of the 2016 and '17 seasons due to Tommy John surgery, he'd been deemed eligible for an elusive fourth option. That means Milwaukee can once again move him between the Majors and Minors in 2019.

That was a bit of a disappointment, since it impacts Houser's chances of making the Opening Day roster. But the most important thing, said the 26-year-old, is that he is healthy at the onset of camp after splitting last year between Triple-A and Milwaukee.

"That was our main goal: Get through last season healthy, and that's what we did," Houser said. "I definitely could have gone longer. Hopefully it got me prepared for this season."

Houser made starts in the Minors last year but only appeared for the Brewers in relief, including a memorable outing against the Phillies on June 17. At the risk of regurgitating a bad memory, that was the day Houser, after a long day of travel to Milwaukee, got sick on the mound in front of 40,985 fans.

He has an open mind about his role for this season.

"I'm coming in thinking I'm a starter, and we'll go from there until told otherwise," Houser said. "Wherever they need me to be an out-getter at, that's where I'll be. Especially last year, those guys did such a good job of that. If everybody adopts that, I think it will be really good for us."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun, Adrian Houser, Jay Jackson

Giants reportedly agree to deal with Solarte

MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Seeking to bring another versatile infielder into the fold, the Giants on Friday agreed to terms with Yangervis Solarte on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Solarte's deal will be worth $1.75 million with an additional $250,000 available in incentives if he makes the Major League roster, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Seeking to bring another versatile infielder into the fold, the Giants on Friday agreed to terms with Yangervis Solarte on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Solarte's deal will be worth $1.75 million with an additional $250,000 available in incentives if he makes the Major League roster, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Solarte, 31, can provide coverage at all four infield spots for the Giants, though the bulk of his experience has come at third base. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Solarte also expressed a willingness to get some exposure in left field, a position he hasn't played since 2014.

"I said, 'Hey, how do you feel about playing left?' And he said, 'I'll play center if you want me to,'" Zaidi said. "I said, 'Oh, we'll wait on that.' He's played everywhere, he's a very confident defender, and that's a big part of the battle when you're moving around."

A switch-hitter, Solarte enjoyed a career-best season with the Padres in 2016, when he batted .286 with an .808 OPS and 15 home runs in 109 games. Hampered by a right oblique strain, Solarte hit .266 with a .655 OPS for the Blue Jays last year, though he finished the season with 17 homers, which would have led the Giants.

Solarte has reached double-digit home runs in each of his five seasons in the Majors while managing to keep his career strikeout rate at 12.1 percent, making a rare switch-hitting bat that can blend contact and power.

"You don't see that with the double-figure power that much in the game anymore," Zaidi said. "It's some hitting ability with some power and some contact. It's a nice all-around package to be able to put in our lineup."

Video: BAL@TOR: Solarte cranks a go-ahead 2-run homer in 8th

The Giants have been looking to add more depth to their infield contingent, which currently features Brandon Belt at first base, Joe Panik at second, Evan Longoria at third and Brandon Crawford at shortstop.

Solarte will likely join Pablo Sandoval and Alen Hanson as the Giants' primary backup infielders. Abiatal Avelino, Ryder Jones and Breyvic Valera are the three other reserve options on the 40-man roster.

Solarte, outfielder Gerardo Parra and catchers Rene Rivera and Stephen Vogt have all signed Minor League contracts with the Giants in recent days, improving the club's depth at positions of need.

"The fact that those are [Minor League] deals, it creates a competitive element where some of our younger guys still can feel they have path to making the team and getting an opportunity as well," Zaidi said. "That kind of healthy competition in camp is something we're hoping to achieve, and having these guys on NRI deals helps create that dynamic."

More acquisitions are likely to happen in the coming weeks, particularly since the Giants could use more help in the outfield. Bryce Harper remains on the market, but Zaidi said he is prepared to go in another direction if the superstar outfielder elects to sign elsewhere.

"We've had trade conversations with teams about certain players that started in 2018 that kind of are continuing now," Zaidi said. "It's a little bit of a function of the slow market, but I think with anything that's a hypothetical, it's a good idea to have alternatives and not put all your eggs in any one basket."

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

San Francisco Giants, Yangervis Solarte

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.

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 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.

Has Harper made a decision?
Feb. 15: 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 -- perhaps even today.

"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 lead 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 lead to believe, that this thing is now decided."

This all sounds very speculative at the moment, but sometimes news breaks from unlikely sources and unexpected places. We're just keeping you up to date on the latest while it's out there -- and while we await more information.

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

 

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.

Source: Padres GM met with Manny in Miami
Feb. 15: 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. While San Diego would be thrilled to land either player, the club has a much greater need for a third baseman than another corner outfielder. 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.

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.

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

A's add veteran Grossman to outfield mix

MLB.com

MESA, Ariz. -- A veteran presence is coming to a young Oakland outfield.

The A's on Wednesday agreed to a one-year Major League deal with switch-hitting outfielder Robbie Grossman. The club officially announced the deal Friday, while announcing they placed right-hander Daniel Gossett on 60-day injured list.

MESA, Ariz. -- A veteran presence is coming to a young Oakland outfield.

The A's on Wednesday agreed to a one-year Major League deal with switch-hitting outfielder Robbie Grossman. The club officially announced the deal Friday, while announcing they placed right-hander Daniel Gossett on 60-day injured list.

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Grossman, who averaged a .371 on-base percentage over his past three seasons, profiles as a potentially nice piece for the A's, even though they appeared to be more than set in the outfield.

Stephen Piscotty will be back in right field, with Ramon Laureano likely manning center. Nick Martini and Chad Pinder, meanwhile, were expected to form a platoon in left, with Mark Canha hanging around as a fifth outfield option.

It's unclear how Grossman affects these plans, but the additional depth could allow the A's to make one of their other excess options -- including Dustin Fowler and infielder/outfielder Franklin Barreto -- available in a trade.

Grossman, 29, hit .273 with five homers and 48 RBIs for the Twins last year. He's a career .256 hitter over six seasons, three each with Houston and Minnesota, and has done especially well against left-handed pitching, batting .286/.378/.406 in 645 plate appearances.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com.

Oakland Athletics, Robbie Grossman

Key 2018-19 free agents for all 30 MLB teams

MLB.com

Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the notable free agents remaining for all 30 Major League clubs as Spring Training gets underway.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the notable free agents remaining for all 30 Major League clubs as Spring Training gets underway.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves
Notable free agents remaining: RHP Peter Moylan

Nick Markakis was a valuable member of a youthful Braves club in 2018, providing veteran leadership and making the All-Star team for the first time in his career, so they brought him back on a one-year deal with a club option for '20. Kurt Suzuki formed a productive catching tandem with Tyler Flowers across 2017-18, but the 35-year-old signed a two-year deal with the Nationals.

Miami Marlins
Notable free agents remaining: INF/OF Derek Dietrich

The Marlins' roster is replete with players who are at the early stages of their big league careers, putting them years away from free agency. After trading multiple big-name players last offseason, Miami will likely now look to deal veterans Starlin Castro and Martin Prado, as they are owed nearly $27 million combined in 2019. Meanwhile, Dietrich elected free agency after being designated for assignment and clearing waivers.

New York Mets
Notable free agents remaining: OF Austin Jackson, RHP AJ Ramos, INF Jose Reyes 

The Mets re-signed catcher Devin Mesoraco to a Minor League contract to serve as depth for the newly acquired Wilson Ramos and holdover Travis d'Arnaud. Jackson, AJ Ramos and Reyes are unlikely to be back, and Jerry Blevins signed a Minor League deal with the A's.

Philadelphia Phillies
Notable free agents remaining: 3B/OF Jose Bautista, LHP Aaron Loup

All four players on Philadelphia's initial free-agent list were acquired late in the 2018 campaign as the Phillies made a playoff push that ultimately fell short. Wilson Ramos signed with the division-rival Mets, but the Phils traded for J.T. Realmuto to replace him.

Washington Nationals
Notable free agents remaining: OF Bryce Harper, C Matt Wieters, RHP Joaquin Benoit

Harper is one of the top free agents on the market, and the Nats are making a major push to keep him in Washington. Washington traded for Yan Gomes and signed Kurt Suzuki this offseason, leaving Wieters looking for a new home. Left-hander Sean Doolittle will be back, as the Nats exercised his option for 2019.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs
Notable free agents remaining: LHP Jorge De La Rosa

The Cubs exercised their $20 million club option for Cole Hamels, who was acquired from the Rangers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, picked up Pedro Strop's $6.25 million option and tendered contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players, so they didn't have any major free-agent departures.

Cincinnati Reds
Notable free agents remaining: None

Outside of Matt Harvey, who joined the Angels on a one-year deal, the Reds didn't have any key departures or options to worry about this winter, though Scooter Gennett is due for free agency following the 2019 season and has been mentioned in trade rumors.

Milwaukee Brewers
Notable free agents remaining: LHP Gio Gonzalez, 3B Mike Moustakas

Moustakas and Joakim Soria declined player options, making them free agents, and Soria signed with the A's. The Brewers picked up Jeremy Jeffress' $3.175 million team option, meanwhile. 

Pittsburgh Pirates
Notable free agents remaining: INF/OF Josh Harrison

The Pirates opened up some payroll flexibility and a roster spot by declining Harrison's $10.5 million option.

St. Louis Cardinals
Notable free agents remaining:
RHP Bud Norris

Adam Wainwright agreed to a one-year deal to return for his 15th season with the Cardinals. Improving the bullpen to build around Jordan Hicks was a priority for St. Louis, especially with the departure of Norris, who provided stability at closer for much of the season. As a result, the Cards signed Andrew Miller in December.

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks
Notable free agents remaining: RHP Clay Buchholz

The D-backs made one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offers to Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock, both of which were declined. Corbin went on to sign with the Nationals, and Pollock landed with the NL West-rival Dodgers.

Colorado Rockies
Notable free agents remaining: OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Matt Holliday

With DJ LeMahieu signing with the Yankees and new acquisition Daniel Murphy expected to move to first base, the Rockies may be set to turn the reins at second base over to one of their middle-infield prospects, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers. Colorado also lost Adam Ottavino to the Yanks and saw Gerardo Parra head to the Giants on a Minor League deal after his $12 million team option was declined.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Notable free agents remaining: RHP John Axford, SS Manny Machado, RHP Ryan Madson

Clayton Kershaw, who had an opt-out clause that would have voided the final two years of his deal, signed a three-year, $93 million contract to stay with the Dodgers, but Machado is not expected back. Meanwhile, Los Angeles made qualifying offers to Yasmani Grandal (who signed a one-year deal with the Brewers) and the oft-injured Hyun-Jin Ryu, with the latter accepting.

San Diego Padres
Notable free agents remaining: None

The Padres' 2018 roster will remain mostly intact with only A.J. Ellis (who transitioned to a front-office role with San Diego) and Freddy Galvis (who signed with the Blue Jays) entering free agency.

San Francisco Giants
Notable free agents remaining: None

San Francisco exercised its options on Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval, bringing them back for 2019, and re-signed Derek Holland, who enjoyed a bounceback campaign and anchored an injury-riddled Giants rotation in 2018.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles
Notable free agents remaining: OF Adam Jones

The O's traded nearly every player on an expiring contract, including Manny Machado, Zack Britton and Brad Brach, during their 2018 roster purge. Baltimore would have dealt Jones as well, but he was unwilling to waive his 10-and-5 rights. Jones may be interested in returning, but he would likely need to accept a reduced role as the Orioles look to the future.

Boston Red Sox
Notable free agents remaining: RHP Craig Kimbrel, 2B Brandon Phillips

The Red Sox have retained most of their roster after winning the World Series in 2018, re-signing postseason heroes Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce and picking up Chris Sale's $15 million option for '19. Eduardo Nunez exercised his $5 million player option for '19, and David Price decided not to opt out of the remaining four years and $127 million on his contract. Kimbrel could end up being the only key player Boston loses, as he rejected the club's qualifying offer.

New York Yankees
Notable free agents remaining: SS Adeiny Hechavarria

Pitching was the main focus for the Yankees during the offseason. They re-signed CC Sabathia to a one-year deal and reliever Zack Britton to a three-year pact, and traded for James Paxton. Meanwhile, David Robertson moved onto the Phillies. The club declined a $12.5 million club option for 35-year-old outfielder Brett Gardner, New York's longest-tenured player, but re-signed him to a one-year deal worth $7.5 million.

Tampa Bay Rays
Notable free agents remaining: OF Carlos Gomez

Sergio Romo was an integral member of the Rays' pitching staff for much of the 2018 season, racking up 25 saves and making five appearances as an "opener," but Tampa Bay opted to move on from the righty, who signed with the Marlins. As for Gomez, the veteran outfielder is unlikely to be back after posting a .634 OPS over 118 games in 2018.

Toronto Blue Jays
Notable free agents remaining: RHP Tyler Clippard

Much like Baltimore, Toronto dealt many impending free agents during the 2018 season, including Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Steve Pearce, Curtis Granderson and John Axford. The Jays picked up Justin Smoak's reasonable $8 million club option and added Matt Shoemaker and Clayton Richard to their rotation, while Marco Estrada departed.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox
Notable free agents remaining: RHP Miguel Gonzalez, RHP James Shields

Chicago picked up Nate Jones' $4.65 million option, but declined Shields' option for $16 million, opting instead for a $2 million buyout, and decided not to tender a contract to Avisail Garcia, who signed with the Rays.

Cleveland Indians
Notable free agents remaining: None

The Indians have some security in the bullpen with midseason acquisitions Brad Hand and Adam Cimber both controllable for several more seasons. Those two should help to replace Andrew Miller, who signed with the Cardinals, and Cody Allen, who joined the Angels. Outfield is also an area of need, especially with Michael Brantley joining the Astros and Lonnie Chisenhall and Melky Cabrera both signing with the Pirates. The Tribe picked up Carlos Carrasco's $9.75 million club option for '19 but opted to buy out Brandon Guyer for $250,000 instead of exercising his $3 million option, and he landed with the White Sox. Third baseman Josh Donaldson's stay in Cleveland was brief, as he inked a one-year, $23 million deal with the Braves.

Detroit Tigers
Notable free agents remaining: SS Jose Iglesias

Iglesias, Francisco Liriano (who landed a Minor League deal with the Pirates) and the retiring Victor Martinez are the key departures for the rebuilding Tigers, who signed Jordy Mercer to replace Iglesias and added Matt Moore and Tyson Ross to their rotation.

Kansas City Royals
Notable free agents remaining: SS Alcides Escobar

After trading Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas last season, the Royals figure to let Escobar walk, as Adalberto Mondesi is now their starting shortstop. The Royals brought back Wily Peralta, who emerged as their closer last season, on a restructured contract.

Minnesota Twins
Notable free agents remaining: RHP Matt Belisle, 2B Logan Forsythe, 1B/DH Logan Morrison, RHP Ervin Santana

With Joe Mauer retiring and the Twins declining to pick up Morrison's $8 million option for 2019, Minnesota had a need at first base and designated hitter, leading to the additions of C.J. Cron and Nelson Cruz. Minnesota also signed Jonathan Schoop to replace the departed Brian Dozier (traded to the Dodgers in July) and Forsythe. Santana's $14 million option was declined after the righty missed nearly all of '18 with finger issues.

AL WEST
Los Angeles Angels
Notable free agents remaining: RHP Jim Johnson, OF Chris Young, RHP Blake Wood

The Angels will retain much of their core. Johnson will likely draw interest on the open market for clubs in need of dependable bullpen arms. Young suffered a season-ending injury (labral tears in both hips) but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Houston Astros
Notable free agents remaining: DH Evan Gattis, UTIL Marwin Gonzalez, LHP Dallas Keuchel, C Martin Maldonado, LHP Tony Sipp

Keuchel has spent his entire career with Houston, but he could anchor another team's staff in 2019 after declining a qualifying offer from the Astros, who added Wade MileyBrian McCann returned to Atlanta on a one-year deal, and Charlie Morton signed with the Rays. Maldonado is not expected back after the team inked Robinson Chirinos

Oakland A's
Notable free agents remaining: RHP Edwin Jackson

Jed Lowrie, who signed a two-year deal with the Mets, was the biggest name among A's free agents, but Oakland let the veteran walk after acquiring Jurickson Profar to handle second base. The A's also lost Jeurys Familia to the Mets, Trevor Cahill to the Angels and Shawn Kelley to the Rangers, but added Joakim Soria, re-signed Mike Fiers and Brett Anderson, and brought in Marco Estrada.

Seattle Mariners
Notable free agents remaining: OF Cameron Maybin, OF Denard Span, RHP Adam Warren

Nelson Cruz has moved on to the Twins, and the rebuilding Mariners are unlikely to re-sign any of the other players on this list.

Texas Rangers
Notable free agents remaining: RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Yovani Gallardo

Adrian Beltre retired, and Texas declined its options on Doug Fister, Matt Moore and Martin Perez. Fister joined Beltre in retirement, while Moore landed with the Tigers and Perez with the Twins. Colon and Gallardo are unlikely to return after the Rangers signed Lance LynnShelby Miller and Jason Hammel and traded for Drew Smyly.

Jason Catania is a reporter and editor for MLB.com.

Thomas Harrigan is a reporter for MLB.com.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.