Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Rumor: Phillies split on Machado, Harper?

Eliot Shorr-Parks
February 19, 2019 - 8:01 am

The Phillies might be very close to signing outfielder Bryce Harper to a mega-deal -- depending on if you want to believe recent reports. 

Unless, of course, they actually want Manny Machado. 

Through all of the Harper rumors that have been flying around, this nugget from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal stands out:

 

Machado being the first choice of the Phillies’ front office, not Harper, is certainly noteworthy. Ownership, and not the front office, being the driving force behind handing out potentially as much as $300 million to a player does not seem like a winning way to go about things. 

The idea that the front office would prefer Machado over Harper is not as crazy as it might seem. The two had very comparable numbers not only just last season, but for their careers. In 2018, Machado had an OPS of .905, which was higher than Harper’s OPS of .889. Machado also had more home runs (37) than Harper did (34). Both are just 26-years old.

There is no denying, however, that Harper is the biggest box-office draw at this point in his career and is considered one of the biggest stars in the game. That is likely on ownership’s mind. 

If the Phillies do end up striking out on Harper, however, it seems fairly obvious they are then going to go all-in on trying to sign Machado — something the front office might prefer anyway. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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