As the good feelings from the Hall of Fame announcement week subside, the baseball world must grapple with the fact that the game’s two premiere free agents remain unsigned. With just weeks to go before teams report for spring training, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper have no clubs to call home.
A recent report by Andy Martino suggests the Yankees have engaged Machado in financial discussions, but they don’t appear to be leading towards any momentum. He described the Bombers’ proposal as “low”, but also reiterated that the team isn’t out of the running. Jon Heyman also weighed in, describing a Machado-to-New-York outcome as unlikely at best.
Meanwhile, a few mystery teams have shed their anonymity. The Braves reportedly stand at the sidelines of the hunt, while the Padres have jumped into the mix. Consider what Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin had to say about San Diego in The Athletic (subscription required):
“The Padres have done background work on both Harper and Machado, according to major-league sources. They have checked in with their representatives, as first reported by FanCred’s Jon Heyman. And while they are more likely to spend big next offseason than they are this one, they are not ruling out a run at Harper or Machado at the right price, sources said.”
San Diego has been connected to a number of young third basemen. They reportedly covet Miguel Andujar. Having interest in Machado makes a lot of sense for them. He’s the type of player that checks a lot of their boxes.
Machado, 26, hit .297/.367/.538 with 37 home runs in 2018. He plays an all-world third base, but grades out worse at shortstop — his position of choice. In addition to the Yankees, Braves, and Padres, the Phillies and White Sox remain the most publicly interested suitors for him.