In a $300 million tortoise race, the first domino has fallen. Manny Machado beat Bryce Harper in finding his team for 2019 and beyond, but will Harper beat him in the bank?
Machado reportedly agreed to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres on Tuesday, good for the largest free-agent contract ever in American sports. It felt like the two superstars were always playing a game of chicken to see who would sign first. Now that the infielder has, the outfielder can step to the plate.
And Harper will surely want a fatter wallet than Machado.
The Phillies went into the offseason vowing to spend "stupid money," and talks between Philadelphia and Harper were reportedly "heating up" on Sunday. The team has long been seen as favorites to land the 2015 NL MVP, and recent rumors have re-affirmed that. But as we've learned all offseason, anything can happen.
Harper is now "unsure" about signing with the Phillies, Andy Martino of SNY reported on Tuesday.
Have been hearing lately Bryce Harper unsure about Philly. They'd better convince him for their sake.— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) February 19, 2019
And here come the Padres. Despite handing out such a lucrative deal to Machado, San Diego is not ruling out a possible Harper signing, reports FanCred's Jon Heyman.
Padres are pulling off one surprise (once Manny’s finalized) but here’s another shocker : they aren’t ruling out Bryce Harper, too. 110M payroll (with MM) is still lower than most.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 19, 2019
As far as the Giants go, their willingness to back up the Brink's truck remains a mystery. Brandon Crawford's wife can keep trying to recruit Harper and his wife to San Francisco, but the simple fact is, a short-term deal, which has been Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi's staple, won't get Harper here any time soon.
Machado giving San Diego their first superstar in ages should speed things up with Harper handing a rose to someone soon.
But where, and how quickly, is still anybody's guess.