The Philadelphia Phillies have been installed by many as the favorites to land one of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado – the two most sought-after free agents in baseball at the moment. And despite it being unlikely the possibility of them signing both the players is also not being ruled out.

Harper and Machado have been actively pursued by a number of franchises with the Washington Nationals and the Chicago White Sox in the race for the former, while the latter has the White Sox and the San Diego Padres as his other admirers.

The Phillies are keen to land one of the players and have met with both Harper and Machado over the last two months. They met the latter in December when he visited Citizens Bank Park, while their first face-to-face meeting with the former was earlier this month at his home town in Las Vegas.

John Middleton, the Phillies principal owner, has admitted that they are willing to spend "stupid" money to land their preferred targets but no concrete offer for either player from the franchise has been revealed thus far. General manager Matt Klentak, however, admitted they made “really good” pitches to both the players and confirmed the dialogue between the franchise and their representatives are ongoing.

“I feel very confident that we’ve put a very strong foot forward, both with our presentations to these guys and the way we’ve welcomed them to Philly or told them about the franchise when we went out to see Harper,” Klentak said Wednesday on "97.5 The Fanatic" in Philadelphia, as transcribed by the New York Post. “I feel really good about that, the pitches that we’ve made.”

“I don’t know exactly what’s going to cause one or both of them to sign and move to resolution, but like I said earlier, different markets will develop for different reasons,” he added.

The Phillies were among the only teams touted to have the financial muscle to sign both the in-demand free agents, who are demanding long-term contracts north of $300 million. But Klentak, despite admitting that “it is not impossible” indicated they will not sign both as it will not benefit them in the long run when it comes building their roster to be successful in the years to come.

“Is it impossible? No. I think it’s very unlikely,” Klentak explained. “I’ve kind of said that on the record or off the record most of the offseason. It’s not about wanting a player or not wanting a player. It’s about managing payrolls and the franchise to have opportunities to improve the club in future years. … I just don’t know if that’s the prudent course of action for us. It’s not because we’re cheap or we don’t like the players, it’s about the dynamics of roster building.”

Meanwhile, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, via Sports Radio 94WIP, the Harper saga could drag on well into March as there is no hurry to sign a deal until he gets an offer closer to his demands. He has already reportedly rejected the Washington Nationals’ initial offer of around $300 million over 10 years.