Manny Machado is off the board and headed to San Diego, according to reports (see story), and the collective reaction from Phillies fans seems to be “we wanted Harper anyway.”
We have data that actually backs that up.
Since this offseason’s free agency began, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado's names have been on the tips of every Phillies fans' tongues and, by many accounts, the Phillies were genuinely interested in Machado, but the fans weren’t that interested, especially recently.
Here’s what the data had to say.
What does it mean? This chart is a visualization of search frequency data from Google in Philadelphia. Google assigns a number, 1-100, to show how popular a given search term is. In the graph above, the blue line represents searches for “Manny Machado, Phillies," the red line represents search data for “Bryce Harper, Phillies.” Since the final day of the 2018 MLB season, "Bryce Harper, Phillies" has been searched 4.5 times more in Philadelphia than his mega free agency counterpart. Over the past week, that number jumps to 18 times more.
It’s clear that Harper, and not Machado, is the guy that Phillies fans want. We'll have to keep waiting to see if it happens.
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