Welcome to the post weekend morning of the Rumor Roundup! Yesterday shed more light on the Harper and Machado sagas, along with an important sit down between the A’s and their Heisman Trophy winner with his NFL Draft decision looming. Hope you enjoy reading the latest news on the hot stove!
White Sox Make Offer to Machado
The White Sox are the potential favorites to land the 26 year old infielder due to Bryce Harper‘s successful meeting with the Phillies on Saturday, although Philadelphia is still in contact with both players. There is also an alleged third “mystery team” that emerged in the race last week, after the Yankees all but officially ruled themselves out a few days ago.
Chicago’s largest player deal in franchise history is only 6-years, $68 million to first baseman, Jose Abreu, which has brought their willingness to extend a decade long offer to Machado into question.
Despite this factor, their aggressiveness to offer an initial 8 year contract could ultimately lead to the anticipated number of 10 years and undeniably demonstrates their seriousness to contend in 2019.
Harper Blows Away the Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies had their scheduled meeting with Bryce Harper and his agent, Scott Boras on Saturday in Las Vegas and reportedly came away very impressed with Harper and his wife, according to Phillies Beat Writer, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
Due to the success of this meeting, Philadelphia has now emerged as the front runner to sign Harper, writes Connor Byrne of MLB Trade Rumors. Earlier this week it was reported that the Phillies had their eyes on shortstop, Manny Machado as their number one target, after rumors spread that Harper could re-sign with the Washington Nationals. A reunion in D.C is now beginning to look unlikely as Nationals executives see Harper’s return as unlikely per USA Today Sports.
It’s unknown whether the Phillies have made an official offer to Harper following their meeting, as they did for Machado, but there’s reason to believe there could be a deal on the horizon following Saturday’s meeting.
The Phillies have been confident about their ability to outspend their few competitors in the race to sign one of the two, heralded free agents in Harper and Machado, who are seeking historical deals. If Harper to Philadelphia winds up happening then it can be assumed that they are out of the race for Machado, which would leave the Chicago White Sox as the front runner to land the infielder.
Oakland A’s Executives Meet with Kyler Murray
With the deadline to declare for the NFL Draft coming up tonight at midnight, a contingent of Oakland Athletics front office officials led by General Manager, Billy Beane met with Heisman Trophy winner, Kyler Murray on Sunday in an effort to persuade him to stick with playing baseball over football per Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.
Sources close to the situation originally reported that Murray had named his price at 15 million to exclusively play baseball, otherwise he would declare for the NFL Draft, wrote Mike Leslie of WFAA in Dallas, but this claim was later ruled “inaccurate” by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Early this morning, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that a source told Slusser that Murray is able to declare for the draft today without violating the terms of his contract with the A’s, which would allow him to keep his options open and make a decision between sports in the coming weeks.
Slusser originally broke the story on Wednesday night, that the A’s expect Murray to declare for the Draft. As of yesterday, Slusser stated that the A’s have no issue with Murray declaring, but they would need to “hammer out” some contractual details if he is given approval to attend the NFL combine/team workouts.
If Murray and the A’s can reach a deal, where he chooses baseball over football in the next few weeks, Major League Baseball must waive a rule, which prevents teams from giving major league contracts to players, who were recently drafted, sources told ESPN Insider, Jeff Passan.
Yesterday’s meeting between Murray and the A’s increased the possibility, in which they would offer the Heisman Trophy winner guaranteed money on top of his 4.66 million dollar signing bonus. In order for this to occur, Oakland must add Murray to their 40 man roster writes Passan, who also clarified that the rule still prevents drafted players from getting a major league contract and the difference in this particular situation is that the 21 year old originally signed a minor league deal.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the league could allow the A’s to add Murray to their 40-man roster and sign him to a major league deal because they did not anticipate nor discuss this current situation as a possibility when they originally signed him.
Morosi also added that Murray would obtain a fourth minor-league option year due to league rules that grant this for players expending their third option year before they complete five minor-league seasons.
Pollock Makes Sense for the Braves
Highly touted, free agent center fielder, AJ Pollock could be a potential fit with the Atlanta Braves given their need for an outfielder, as Buster Onley of ESPN (subscription required) reported yesterday, which was posted on MLB Trade Rumors.
While Atlanta certainly has the payroll flexibility to acquire Pollock, they’re currently “hesitant” to offer him a multi-year deal given his injury history, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Pollock has not played in more than 113 games since 2015, which was also the only year of his career in which he made 150+ appearances.
After signing third baseman, Josh Donaldson to a one-year deal worth 23 million this offseason, a one-year contract for Pollock would make the most sense for the Braves. Despite this fit, it was pointed out by Onley that the Braves would lose a 2nd round pick since Pollock declined a qualifying offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks, which ultimately could be the deciding factor in their decision.