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MLB insiders handicap final sprint for Bryce Harper now that Manny Machado has signed

MLB insiders handicap final sprint for Bryce Harper now that Manny Machado has signed

The first major domino of MLB free agency finally dropped on Tuesday, after what felt like months of waiting.

Four-time all-star and former Orioles third baseman Manny Machado reportedly agreed to a massive, 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres.

With Machado now out of the way, the focus on everybody’s mind now shifts back to Bryce Harper.

Eight MLB Insiders weighed in on their opinions on what this deal means for Harper.

Jim Bowden ( via CBS Sports HQ Twitter): Now that Manny Machado signed, Bryce Harper has a dollar value where he should be. Phillies had the leverage to offer either Harper or Machado a mega contract and if they didn’t take it offer it to the other. Now that Machado signed, they have lost all of their leverage. After Friday, if Harper has not signed with the Phillies, it is anyone’s game. Bowden predicts 10 years, $320-$330 million.

John Clark (NBC Sports Philly): The pressure is on for the Phillies. All of their eggs are in the “Bryce basket” since they could have outbid the Padres for Manny Machado. Bryce Harper plays best in Philadelphia and the stats prove it. He has 14 HR in Citizens Bank Park last season… meaning if he starts for the Phillies, he could have a 40+ season.

Amy Fadool (NBC Sports Philly): “The White Sox should be shocked that they did not get Manny Machado. The Nationals have the money to bid but the Phillies have Harper to lose.” Fadool predicts 10 years, $320 million.

Marc Farzetta (NBC Sports Philly): “It is no doubt that Bryce Harper will get the money he wants. Machado went where the finances talked and Bryce will do the same. It all depends if he wants to play in Philadelphia. If he doesn’t want to be in Philadelphia he won’t sign here.” Farzetta predicts $340 million.

Jon Heyman (via Twitter @JonHeyman): "With several teams, Harper derby may take a few or even several more days. Besides favored Phillies, there are at least the Giants, Padres, White Sox and perhaps incumbent Nats. Washington hasn’t been at the en at forefront but could come late. Rumor they have right to match at end is untrue tho." Heyman correctly predicted Machado’s contract back in November.” He predicted Bryce Harper signing a deal at 11 years, $330 million.

Buster Olney (ESPN.com): “The Bryce Harper camp should be high-fiving each other because he will get the biggest contract in baseball. Olney states that Harper will sign with the Phillies but the White Sox could be an underdog.” Reporting from Nationals Spring Training, Olney says that they are not making any moves to sign Harper.

Jim Salisbury (NBC Sports Philly): Bryce Harper has not made a decision about where he will sign because he has more options than ever. Salisbury thinks that the Nationals, White Sox and Phillies are the only teams in the running for Harper.

Dave Uram (via Twitter @MrUram): "This is pure speculation (per my opinion): After what happened with Manny Machado, if Bryce Harper doesn't agree to terms with the #Phillies by the end of the day, considering spring training already began, it'll give me the sense he doesn't want to play in Philadelphia."

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Report: Padres land Manny Machado with biggest free-agent contract in American sports history

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Report: Padres land Manny Machado with biggest free-agent contract in American sports history

One of Major League Baseball's brightest young stars will call San Diego home for the next 10 years. 

The  San Diego Padres made the splash many have been trying to make, reportedly signing coveted free agent Manny Machado Tuesday, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan,

The deal is reported to span 10 years worth $300 million, according to MLB Network's Mark Feinsand

The 26-year-old, who was traded to Los Angeles in July after eight-plus seasons in Baltimore, has the most hits (1,000) by any shortstop since entering MLB in 2013. 

Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, who is waiting for former teammate Bryce Harper to make his highly anticipated decision, is happy that the first domino fell. 

"That’s good for the game," he told reporters at spring training on Wednesday. Good for the stars of the game to get signed. And for a face of the game to get a 10-year contract.”

Machado was courted by several teams, including the Dodgers, Phillies, Yankees and White Sox, the latter of which believe it made a better offer than the Padres

Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler spoke to reporters shortly after the news broke, claiming the team doesn't "have a deal" yet. 

This is a developing story. Stay on NBC Sports Washington for the latest news, updates, and reports. 

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Bryce Harper's status before Spring Training

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Bryce Harper's status before Spring Training

In the last podcast before taking off for Palm Beach, Todd hosts Racing Presidents and brings in Jim Salisbury, longtime Phillies reporter currently with NBC Sports Philadelphia, both looking southward to spring training.

Alongside everyone else, Dybas and Salisbury remain shocked at how long Harper and Machado’s free agency has lasted. They draw comparisons between this year’s free agency period to last years.

In both instances, there remain a tier of players under the top two free agents waiting for dominoes to fall and trigger leftover signings. 

Last year, it was J.D. Martinez and Jake Arrieta. This year, it is Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

The Nationals finished two games ahead of Philadelphia last season. They Nats also swept the Phillies in D.C. in September. However, a lot has changed since then.

Phillies have added J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, David Robertson and Andrew McCutchen, and are still in the market for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.

Does this make the NL East the most competitive division in the league this season? Listen below to find out.

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