Heyman spoke with more than 10 MLB executives about which superstar free agent would get the bigger deal, and a few volunteered that they believed Philly could sign both players. The Phillies have a relatively small amount of money owed to future contracts (less than $69 million), which seem to set the team up for a potentially huge winter.
Both Machado and Harper are expected to land contracts that could put them among the highest-paid players in MLB history because they are entering free agency at such a young age. Harper will be 26 next season, while Machado will turn 27 in July.
Earlier this season,before Machado also has personal connections as Phillies executives Andy MacPhail, Matt Klentak, Ned Rice, Scott Proefrock were all in Baltimore when the Orioles selected Machado with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft.
This season, Harper has hit .247/.387/.503 with 33 home runs for the Washington Nationals. Machado, meanwhile, has hit .302/.374/.545 with 34 home runs for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers.
A surprising first half and a push in early August put the Phillies with a 1 1/2-game lead in the National League East, positioning them for a postseason appearance. But then they fell apart, and since then they've gone 11-23, failing to win any of their last 11 series and are now 7 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves entering Friday's action. The Braves and Phillies will face each other seven times before the season's over, so the Phillies still have some small chance to make the playoffs.
The team has the second-worst batting average (.237) in the majors, is 21st in runs and has the third-highest number of strikeouts. Adding two offensive powerhouses like Harper and Machado to the lineup could only help their hitting woes.