Harper and Machado are close to choosing their free agent destinations - NextSportStar

Harper and Machado are close to choosing their free agent destinations

By on February 19, 2019

The prolonged free agent sagas of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are close to being over.

According to former MLB general manager Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio, both highly coveted free agents are closing in on new contracts, and could officially sign deals with their respective teams by Friday.

If the latest rumours have any validity to them, expect Harper to join the Philadelphia Phillies while Machado to stay in the state of California and ink a contact with the San Diego Padres. The Washington Nationals, and New York Yankees continue to make strong pushes for Harper, and the White Sox are still aggressively pursuing Machado.

Harper, 26, has posted a .279 batting average, .900 OPS, 184 homers, and 521 RBI over a span of seven seasons with the Washington Nationals. Aside from winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 2012, he is also a recipient of the NL MVP Award (2015), Silver Slugger Award (2015), NL Hank Aaron Award (2015), NL home run leader (2015), and most recently won the Home Run Derby at the 2018 MLB All-Star festivities.

Machado, 26, is no slouch himself. Over seven seasons split between the Baltimore Orioles and a short stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has hit a combined .282 with a .822 OPS, 175 homers and 513 RBI in 926 games. He does not have the same offensive accolades as Harper, but makes up for it with his play on the field. Machado has won two Gold Glove Awards (2013, 2015), and a Platinum Glove Award (2013) to go along with his four All-Star appearances.

The Phillies finished last season with an 80-82 record, which was their best single season win total since recording 81 wins in 2012.

The San Diego Padres, who have essentially been rebuilding for years, have one of the league’s best farm systems and are looking to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2006. They ended the 2018 season with a 66-96 record, and have not won 80 or more games in a year since finishing 90-72 in 2010.

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