In this slow offseason, Chicago Cubs rumors are scarce. Meanwhile, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper seem to pop up daily. Here’s the latest.
Although a number of free agents have already signed and many trades have been made, the focus of the MLB offseason remains on marquee free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. That means any inkling of Cubs rumors sets Twitter ablaze – but those have been dormant of late.
Both superstars remain unsigned, and both are constantly surrounded by rumblings, with new updates being reported nearly every day.
For Cubs fans, there isn’t much good news on this front. The club still seems to be ‘out’ on both, at least for now, due to a lack of willingness from ownership to pay what Harper may demand. Meanwhile, the White Sox look like one of the main teams still in on Machado and could still have a shot at Harper, as well.
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Manny’s mystery team
The race for Manny Machado has been narrowed down to three teams, according to multiple reports. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that the White Sox, Phillies and a mystery team remain in on the infielder.
While some reported on Sunday the White Sox had increased their seven-year offer to eight years, Bob Nightengale of USA Today quickly refuted that, saying the White Sox had done no such thing
Another report on Wednesday indicated the Sox are sticking to their initial seven-year, $175 million offer.
The White Sox seem to have taken measures to attract Machado by acquiring several of his close friends and family members, including Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay. It remains to be seen whether those additions will have any impact on his decision.
Phils in front?
According to some of the most recent reports, the Philadelphia Phillies appear to have a good shot at Harper. They met with the superstar outfielder in his hometown of Las Vegas on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, Nightengale reported that the Phillies appeared to be the favorites to land Harper.
Going into the offseason, it was widely speculated Harper could end up in Philadelphia. But over the last few months, other teams have gotten into the race, including the White Sox, Dodgers and Nationals.
About a month ago, it was reported that the Cubs front office met with Scott Boras at the Winter Meetings, asking Boras to check back in with the Cubs before accepting another offer. But it’s looking increasingly unlikely the Cubs have any shot at Harper. At the moment, only the Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers and Nationals appear to be in the race.
One, but not both
One of the most recent reports on both Machado and Harper came in early Tuesday afternoon. Matt Gelb, who covers the Phillies for The Athletic, wrote that the Phillies have made it clear they won’t sign both Harper and Machado.
So that leaves the White Sox still very much in the mix for Machado, and perhaps the Nationals still in on Harper, as well, among others.
While it seems highly unlikely the Cubs will be able to land Machado or Harper, Cubs fans should still stay tuned to the rumor mill. Boras could still do a last-minute check-in with Theo Epstein before accepting a deal. And it seems increasingly likely one of the two stars could end up on the South Side of Chicago in 2019.