The Philadelphia Phillies are the slight front-runners to land superstar free-agent infielder Manny Machado, according to OddsShark:
Machado, who had 37 home runs and 107 RBI last season, visited the Phillies in late December and mentioned his experience was "pretty awesome." He also met with the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.
However, Jon Heyman of Fancred reported some plot-twisting news Friday:
He also spoke of a mystery team in a Jan. 11 tweet:
The Phillies' interest in Machado is not a mystery, so if Heyman's report is accurate, then Philadelphia has not offered the highest price for the four-time All-Star's services.
If the Phils do land Machado, they'll be in good shape for a run at an NL East title. The Phillies led the division into August last season before wilting in the late summer and early fall.
With Machado stabilizing the batting lineup and bona fide ace Aaron Nola anchoring the rotation, the Phillies would give the defending division champion Atlanta Braves a stiff challenge.
However, Heyman also reported that the Phils may prefer free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper over Machado, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today said that the team may look to sign Harper, free-agent southpaw starter Dallas Keuchel and free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel.
While Machado may not land in Philadelphia, odds seem high that the Phils make a big splash with someone before pitchers and catchers report for them Feb. 13.