Phillies

Bryce Harper AND Manny Machado in a Phillies uniform? Don't bet the ranch on it

Bryce Harper AND Manny Machado in a Phillies uniform? Don't bet the ranch on it

The big question heading into the offseason for the Phillies surrounds free agency.

They will mix it up for the biggest names on the market. That means Manny Machado. That means Bryce Harper.

It would not be surprising to see a team with the Phillies’ needs and wealth land one of these players. There has even been speculation — wild, throwing you-know-what-against-the-wall speculation — that the team could land both.

That has always been a long shot.

Club president Andy MacPhail essentially confirmed as much during his end-of-season meeting with reporters on Tuesday.

“There has been some speculation about what we’re going to do which I find to be just someone just didn’t put a paper and pencil together and do the math,” MacPhail said.

The bidding for Machado and Harper is expected to open at more than $250 million and could rise over $300 million. Even in the form of eight- to 10-year contracts, that’s a potentially unwieldy amount of payroll tied up in two players, especially with core players such as Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins possibly needing to be locked up in the not-too-distant future.

And there’s also the matter of maintaining financial flexibility beyond next season when the looming free-agent class will be equally impressive with the likes of Nolan Arenado, Anthony Rendon, Madison Bumgarner, Gerrit Cole and Paul Goldschmidt hitting the market.

“It's essential to me that you always allow yourself enough payroll to deal with things from year to year as the facts on the ground change,” MacPhail said. “This isn't the last year that major-league baseball is ever going to be played, so you're not going to throw every resource you have at this year because there's the following year as well.”

The facts on the ground for 2018 showed a Phillies team that was a first-place club through four months because it had good starting pitching. It showed a team that was, at best, inconsistent offensively and consistently poor defensively.

MacPhail said, “I would anticipate that we’re always going to be active,” in free agency and he added that ownership has carried top-five payrolls before and is willing to do it again. But he also asked rhetorically if one player would fix all of the Phillies’ shortcomings, which may simply have been his way of managing expectations in case the Phillies strike out on the free-agent market. There will be other bidders for the big guys, you know.

“I guess if you were going to invest all you had on one star-type player, then that would be sort of an acknowledgement that you think you may be one player away,” MacPhail said. “I think we're going to have to make some hard evaluations as to really, are we what we were the first 117 games (of 2018) or the last 45? The truth is, we're probably somewhere in between.

“Fans want to see you win. Your job is to win. So what our baseball operations department has to do is try to find the best formula to do that. Whether that includes a superstar-type player or whatever, that’s the goal they have to reach for.”

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It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

Jeopardy has been home to some great moments regarding Philadelphia sports in the past.

 I wish this was another one of these moments ... but it's not.

 It turns out, the show's host host Alex Trebek isn't a big fan of the Phillie Phanatic ... I know, I'm hurt too.


 The Phillies are in disbelief, we all are.
 
 Of course, fans had quite the reaction to the video that surfaced on social media. After all, the Phanatic is the best mascot in all of sports (totally unbiased, of course).




 

I don't even want to know what he thinks about Gritty.

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Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Right around the time the Washington Nationals were clinching their World Series berth this week, a guy who left that team to come play in Philadelphia posted a cute photo to his Instagram story with his baby son. It included the caption, "cuddle time is the best time."

I made light of the juxtaposition of that photo with what Nationals players were currently doing in a tongue-in-cheek tweet, but it's hard not to think about Bryce Harper during this Nationals run.

We know exactly how Nationals fans down in DC feel about their former favorite slugger who departed DC for big time bucks. They won't stop telling us.

But what was Harper feeling? Thanks to a one-on-one interview Harper did with Jayson Stark of the Athletic, we now have a glimpse into Harper's mind during this unique time.

Stark says Harper was effusive in his praise of the city of Philadelphia during their chat. And the majority of Harper's answers are very savvy in a public relations sense. Harper is good at saying what you think he's supposed to say. But it doesn't come off as disingenuous.

Stark asked Harper if he was feeling any jealousy watching his old pals spray champagne in the locker room and his answer comes off as pretty honest. From the Athletic ($):

“No,” he said again, without a millisecond’s hesitation, “because like I said, I made my decision, and that was my decision. And it was the final decision that I made. You know, jealousy isn’t good. For me, it’s about having the gratitude to go out and do what I do each day and not having an attitude towards anybody else.

“I think it’s about being able to be the person that I am,” he went on, “and not saying to myself, `Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m not a National.’ Or, `Oh my gosh, those guys are doing what they’re doing. I can’t believe it. I’m so jealous.’ No. I’m so happy for them. You know how hard it is to get into the postseason and win games. For them to be able to put it together this year the way they have, it’s an amazing thing.”

There's plenty more to the piece worth diving into. Stark also spoke with former National/Phillie Jayson Werth, who knows a thing or two about both cities/clubs and also what it's like to play alongside Harper.

The Nationals' opponent in the World Series is yet to be set, but whether it's the Nationals, New York Yankees or Houston Astros who are spraying champagne at the end of it, you won't see Harper doing that. Unless he and his little baby pop up in his Instagram stories getting wacky.

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