Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press
There could be bad news for the Philadelphia Phillies in their free-agent pursuits of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, neither Harper nor Machado “particularly likes Philadelphia,” and both would prefer to play for the New York Yankees.
The bad news for Harper is the Yankees have shown little interest in seriously pursuing him.
“No time at all all winter have I said I’m looking for an outfielder,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters during the winter meetings. “The Harper stuff … I’m surprised you’re still asking.”
New York already has more outfielders than starting spots available with Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks on the roster.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported last month the Yankees had internal discussions about using Harper at first base if they signed him, but that scenario was described as “unrealistic.”
Machado has been the focal point for the Yankees and Phillies this offseason. The four-time All-Star met with both teams, along with the Chicago White Sox, last week.
The upside for Phillies fans is owner John Middleton doesn’t sound like he’s going to lose out on Harper or Machado by being outbid.
“We’re going into this expecting to spend money,” Middleton told USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale in November. “And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.”
The Phillies are trying to keep pace with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals in the National League East. They have already signed Andrew McCutchen to boost their right field production, but they still have their sights set on a bigger prize.