The Los Angeles Dodgers are connected to both these impending developments, albeit for slightly different reasons between the two.
There aren’t really any indications that Machado is going to be back with the Dodgers, who acquired him this past July at the non-waiver trade deadline.
However, there has been a lot of rumblings that Harper is seriously considering choosing the Dodgers as his next team.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY is reporting that Machado has an in-person visit with the Philadelphia Phillies scheduled for next week.
George A. King III of The New York Post is suggesting that Machado could be visiting with the New York Yankees next week as well.
It doesn’t appear that Machado is going to make a decision until next week at the very earliest, which could have some repercussions.
Harper could conceivably want to make a decision before then, and it could end up forcing some teams’ hands that want to acquire either of them.
There are also rumors connecting the Chicago White Sox to Machado, as well as a mystery team that is trying to stay under-the-radar throughout these very public pursuits.
While the Yankees appear to be clearly prioritizing Machado over Harper, the White Sox seem like they’re going after both.
In free agency, teams will typically wait for a specific player to make a choice before they begin pursuing other options.
Harper and Machado are the two marquee players available. It sounds like there are teams prioritizing a pursuit of Machado over Harper.
What gets complicated is when a player viewed as a secondary priority compared to another option seems poised to make a decision before that main option.
Teams then have to calculate whether they should take a chance at luring one option if it means ultimately missing out on the other.
The Phillies recently acquired Jean Segura, and that could really impact their potential draw from the perspective of Machado.
In the past, Machado has voiced a preference to play shortstop, and with Segura presumably penciled in at that position now, Machado would be playing third base if he signs with the Phillies.
Nightengale also wrote a piece that described how the Dodgers are very much a candidate for Harper’s services, although the Phillies should be considered the favorites to land him at this point.
Jim Bowden is reporting that the Dodgers don’t want to give Harper a 10-year deal, and neither do other candidates like the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Angels.
If Harper wants to play for the Dodgers, it seems like he’d have to turn down a longer offer from another team unless the Dodgers ultimately give in and go 10 years with him.
What’s going to be really fascinating is if the Phillies feel compelled to sign whichever player jumps on their offer first.
It’d probably be a safe bet as of now that the Phillies are going to get one of either Harper or Machado, although which one it is might depend on which gives them stronger affirmation first.
Free agency can be crazy and unpredictable, though. What seems like an inevitability one day can quickly become a dead end the very next day.
The Dodgers appear to be well within the Harper sweepstakes right now, and they certainly offer Harper a chance to not only win but also grow his presence as a global ambassador for the sport.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Harper’s decision ultimately does come down to the team willing to give him the 10-year deal, and perhaps the negotiation process really is just beginning.