Asks the Washington Post:
The Phillies have always been the team to watch this winter, with money reportedly stockpiled and an ownership group ready to spend — see the $18 million they tossed Tommy Hunter’s way last offseason, just because. Harper will obviously cost much more than that, but the Phillies will be able to pay him.
The question, of course, is whether they want to do so.
The potential impediment:
The Phillies have always been associated with the other marquee member of this year’s free agent class, Manny Machado. Their president, Andy MacPhail, knows Machado well because he was overseeing the Baltimore Orioles when they drafted Machado third overall in 2010 — two picks behind Harper.
This fall, when asked about the possibility of signing Machado and Harper, MacPhail implied the Phillies would not be able to afford quite that much.
So if they whiff on Machado, the Phillies could chase Harper, who has reportedly already chatted with former National and Phillie Jayson Werth about life at Citizens Bank Park.
Harper would likely thrive there offensively. He has 14 career home runs at Citizens Bank Park, the most of any opposing ballpark, and a .930 OPS in 50 career games there: