Phillies rumors: Mystery teams emerging for Bryce Harper
By John Town
Reports of “mystery teams” pursuing free agent Bryce Harper are emerging, potentially adding some competition for the Phillies.
Now that football season is over (Super Bowl LII was better) all eyes can now turn to baseball. The biggest story in the league remains the free agency odysseys of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The Phillies are right in the middle of things, but reports of new teams joining the fray are coming into play.
Jim Bowden of the Athletic reported Monday morning the existence of “mystery team(s)” pursuing Harper. He said he could not identify which team it was, but offered up possibilities like the Braves, Cardinals, Astros, Giants, Angels, Yankees, and Blue Jays. Lots of replies to the tweet mentioned the Mets.
Richard Justice of MLB.com did some work to narrow down the field of potential mystery teams a couple weeks ago. He correctly guessed that the Padres were joining the fray, mentioning the Giants, Astros, and Cardinals along with Bowden. Justice also suggested the Rangers, who Bowden did not include.
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Whichever mystery team is supposedly also in the hunt joins the Phils, Nationals, White Sox, and Padres as known suitors. The field is slowly starting to widen after reports earlier in the offseason that it was Philadelphia betting against themselves.
Mystery teams are always floated around during free agency, potentially to drum up some extra competition for a player.
Bowden is the same person who criticized all but four teams for not actively pursuing Harper or Machado, so it’s no surprise to see him jump all over the possibility of a mystery team.
Even with the reported emergence of a new mystery team, Philadelphia remains optimistic about how free agency will turn out. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported that the team still believes they will land one of Harper or Machado.
It doesn’t look like this free agency madness will be coming to a close anytime soon, even with spring training just over a week away.