By Sam Bush

The Phillies aren’t sitting back and letting the top free agent this offseason bo to a team in their division by default.

In other words, they’re taking the Bryce by the horns.

They will reportedly have a face-to-face meeting in Las Vegas with Harper soon, says Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philly.

The Phillies met with his agent, Scott Boras, during the winter meetings. Harper was not at that meeting, so this will be the first time Phillies officials will sit down with Harper this offseason.

While there’s no reason for Phillies fans to overreact to the news, it’s an encouraging development for the team and Harper. At the very least, it’s a sign that the meeting with Boras went well enough that the team got a chance to speak directly to Harper.

Whether or not they actually sign Harper is a much bigger question. Manny Machado remains the Phillies’ primary focus. Teams were told to have offers in to Machado’s agent before 2019 started. The Phillies will now wait to see whether Machado likes their offer enough to keep negotiating.

In the meantime, it’s worth it for the team to also check in on Harper. The Phillies have made it clear they are willing to spend money this offseason. If the team misses out on one of the megastars on the market, they might as well hand that money to the other guy.

The Phillies are not the only team with that idea. The Chicago White Sox have also shown interest in both players this winter, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Like the Phillies, the White Sox remain in the conversation on both players. Passan mentions the New York Yankees as another suitor for Machado, and says Harper has met with the Washington Nationals multiple times.

Given that neither player has made a decision yet, it makes sense for the Phillies to be aggressive. There’s no downside to showing interest both players, and the upside results in one of the best players in baseball joining the Phillies.

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