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REPORT: Phillies to meet with Bryce Harper

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Despite being heavy in talks with Manny Machado, the Phillies are not giving up on landing the former Nationals outfielder.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

As the Phillies negotiate with and wait for Manny Machado to decide between them, the Yankees and White Sox, general manager Matt Klentak is reportedly not putting all his eggs in the Manny basket.

NBC Sports Jim Salisbury reports the Phillies will have a face-to-face meeting with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas, Harper’s home town, soon.

Even while they negotiate with Machado, the Phillies remain interested in outfielder Bryce Harper, the other megastar on this winter’s free-agent market. In fact, a person close to the player tells NBC Sports Philadelphia that a face-to-face meeting between Harper and Phillies officials is being planned for “the next week or so,” in Harper’s hometown of Las Vegas. Phillies officials met with Harper’s representative, Scott Boras, at the winter meetings in Las Vegas last month. The player was not in attendance at that meeting.

As Salisbury notes, the Machado “remains the Phillies’ primary focus,” but as everyone knows, the Yankees remain strong competition. It’s unclear where the White Sox fit into the pecking order here, but they cannot be discounted either. New York did sign veteran infielder Troy Tulowitzki on Wednesday, but only for a league minimum deal. It’s likely just insurance should Machado take another team’s offer, but the fact the Yankees are that unsure he will sign with the club could perhaps be good news for Philadelphia.

As for Machado, Salisbury says the White Sox, Yankees and Phils have likely submitted preliminary offers and are continuing to negotiate. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports the Phils are serious about signing Harper, although they’re not alone.

Harper has met multiple times with representatives of the Washington Nationals, according to a club source, and the possibility of a return to the place he spent the first seven years of his career persists, despite Nationals owner Mark Lerner’s insistence that Washington would not stretch beyond the $300 million offer Harper rejected near season’s end. The Phillies and White Sox are the other two teams known to be willing to guarantee Harper the decade-plus-long deal he and Machado, each 26 years old, are seeking. Harper’s willingness to wait for a contract he deems suitable is real, according to a source who said he could see Harper’s free agency stretching into February.

February? Good heavens.

But it is good news that the Phils have made it clear they are willing to go 10 years on either of Macharper, although any long-term deal will almost certainly include opt-outs after a few seasons.

So, the Macharper waiting game continues.