The Phillies aren’t going to let the free-agency decisions of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado delay them signing other top free agents.
While it is the goal of the Phillies to land at least one of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, there is always the possibility that neither decides to sign with Philadelphia. While this would be a disappointing scenario, don’t let that fool you into thinking they won’t try to improve elsewhere. In fact, they may make upgrades before either player makes a decision.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported Monday that Philadelphia is not waiting on Harper and Machado to make their decision before pursuing other free agents. He stated that the team is even willing to sign several players before the two top names sign.
Morosi offered up a scenario where Philadelphia would sign a starter, closer, and an outfielder. The list of potential signees includes starters Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi, and J.A. Happ, closers Craig Kimbrel and Zach Britton, and outfielders Michael Brantley and A.J. Pollock.
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In addition, Morosi stated that they could squeeze Harper or Machado and Corbin into their payroll by trading for a closer rather than signing one. Morosi previously reported that the team is interested in Mariners closer Edwin Diaz, although it would cost them one of their top pitching prospects. Arizona is also willing to trade their closer, Brad Boxberger, although Diaz is significantly better and younger than Boxberger.
In either situation, the team would once again be carrying a payroll close to $200 million. This shouldn’t be an issue as their current payroll is below $100 million and have had huge payrolls in the past. There is a concern about what happens when the team’s young players start needing extensions.
However, there is ample reason to think that they will be able to pay them as well. The luxury tax threshold will continue to go up and the team has few long-term financial commitments at this time.
As it turns out, there could be big moves made by the Phils before Machado or Haper know what they will do. Either way, there should be more excitement as teams start nearing deals with the bigger free agents.