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Phillies optimistic on Bryce Harper, Manny Machado

Eliot Shorr-Parks
February 15, 2019 - 7:33 am

Depending on who you believe, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are either going to be making their decisions as early as today, or it could stretch until mid-March. 

Either way, whenever the decision is made, the Phillies still appear to remain confident they will be landing one of the premier free agents. 

"I'm pretty optimistic about it, really," pitcher Jake Arrieta said to reporters on Thursday. "There is probably a handful of teams that are in the running still. There is no inclination we are not the favorite, or at least one of the favorites. I don't think it is going to come down to the money, I think it is going to come down to the players deciding which city, which team is best fit for them...it is tough to say, but I could definitely see one of those guys here."

"I hope we end up with one of these guys," Rhys Hoskins said to reporters. "They are generational talent."

Does he believe the Phillies will land with Harper or Machado?

"I think so," Hoskins said. "Yeah."

PHILLIES: KLENTAK SPEAKS ON OFFSEASON SO FAR

The wait for either Harper or Machado to make up their minds and decide where to play has felt like an eternity for most fans, considering free agency started months ago and spring training is already underway. Even new catch J.T. Realmuto, who is close wither Harper, didn't see to have an idea on what would happen. 

"It's crazy how in the dark everybody has been about these guys," Realmuto told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show about Harper and Machado earlier this week. "They're keeping everything pretty under raps and I've only been here for a couple of days, so obviously I'm not getting the scoop from Matt (Klentak) yet. I feel like we're pretty well equipped right now with the team we've got going out there, but obviously you add a guy like Harper or Machado into the mix and it just takes us over the top. We're cheering over here just as much as you guys, for one of those guys to sign with us. So we'll how that plays out, but we're excited about it."

What does appear to be clear is that the race is coming down to two teams for Harper -- the Phillies and the San Francisco Giants. USA Today's Bob Nightengale, speaking on KNBR 680 in San Francisco earlier this week, said the Dodgers and Nationals are out of the race, making it a two-team race between the Phils and Giants. However, it sounds like Nightengale thinks the Giants have the edge. 

“With the Giants moving in and all the optimism, I do believe it’s a coin flip," Nightengale told KNBR. "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.” 

You can check out the full video of Arrieta and Hoskins below:

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