The Phillies’ meeting with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas went so well that the team may be shifting its focus to Harper instead of Manny Machado, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, who cited a pair of sources.
Harper, his wife, Kayla, and agent Scott Boras met Saturday with Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton, team President Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak, manager Gabe Kapler and assistant general manager Ned Rice.
After arriving back in Philadelphia, Middleton told 6abc he thought the meeting was “really positive,” and Klentak agreed.
“We really got to see the man,” Middleton said. “We watched the player play for years, but we got to understand the man, we got to understand what he’d be like in the dugout, the clubhouse and the community. He and his wife are really an impressive young couple. ... It was really a good day to spend time with them.”
Klentak echoed Middleton’s remarks and said it was good that the two sides were able to learn more about each other.
“I think that’s a really important step in any negotiation — to understand what the other party is looking for,” Klentak said. “Now we’ll see where it takes us.”
Zolecki states that Machado has been the Phillies’ top target because he’d give them an excellent bat and glove at third base.
The team has made a formal offer to Machado, but whether a contract has been offered to Harper is unknown.
The Phillies this offseason have made a handful of upgrades, adding three veterans in reliever David Robertson, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and infielder Jean Segura.
But Phillies fans are looking for a splash signing, and Zolecki, according to a third source, reports the team is well aware it needs to make one to keep up with its NL East opponents and that it is optimistic it will sign either Machado or Harper.
But those two aren’t the only All-Stars available. Craig Kimbrel would certainly be a major upgrade to the bullpen, as would left-hander Dallas Keuchel to the starting rotation.