The Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sagas are likely to be the main topics in baseball until the two most sought-after free agents sign a deal with one of the interested franchises.

Harper has been pursued by a number of franchises since the start of the offseason with reports suggesting he has met with multiple teams before, during and after the winter meetings.

The Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago White Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals are among the teams said to be interested – while there are others that are not so frequently mentioned as well.

Harper is seeking a record setting deal said to be worth well over $300 million over 10-years, but it remains to be seen which franchise will oblige. The Phillies have admitted that they could spend a "stupid" amount of money this offseason, while the White Sox also have the funds at their disposal.

The Dodgers, who are also said to be keen to sign Harper, but will not offer him the deal that he prefers and instead are planning a more short-term offer with a larger annual value in terms of wages. The Nationals, on the other hand, have reportedly offered their former player a 10-year deal worth $300 million but were turned down, it remains to be seen if they will re-engage with fresh terms or take a stand with their previous offer.

Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper has been courted by numerous franchises during the offseason with the right-fielder yet to make a decision. In this picture, Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals at bat in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, Sept. 18, 2018. Mark Brown/Getty Images

However, MLB Insider Anthony Castrovince has thrown a new team into the mix while making his bold predictions for 2019. He admitted that his initial thoughts were that Harper will sign for either the Phillies or the White Sox, but now believes that the St. Louis Cardinals have a chance of landing the right-fielder.

Castrovince is of the view that the 11-time World Series winners have the resources to pull-off the Harper signing and he believes the right-fielder can take them from National League contenders to “World Series-caliber squad”.

Machado’s situation, meanwhile, is completely different as his selection of teams to choose from is pretty clear after he held meetings with the White Sox, the Phillies and the New York Yankees in December.

The shortstop/third baseman indicated that he will make a decision in the New Year and it is expected that Machado will sign his deal before Harper does. And Castrovince believes he will sign his deal in the next 10 days and the free agent will be seen in the Yankees pinstripes from the 2019 season.

Machado is also looking for a deal in the region of $300 million over 10-years, but the Yankees, who are considered the favorites, are said to be unwilling to offer a lengthy contract but a more short-term with larger annual value.

The shortstop has been a big fan of the Yankees and is said to prefer moving to New York over Philadelphia, despite the Phillies admitting that they are ready to spend big to land their preferred targets.