Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper (left) is expected to sign before Manny Machado (right). In this picture, Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals and Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles talk during their game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, July 10, 2015. Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sweepstakes are heating up and are said to be nearing their ends, with both players close to confirming their next destinations after a winter of constant speculation as numerous teams were in the running for the two in-demand free agents.

The Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres have been switching positions as the front runners for Harper since December, with the latter two being late entrants into the race.

The Giants were installed as favorites for a very short while at the start of February after being the latest team to meet with the right-fielder. But their reluctance to offer a long-term deal saw them drop out of the race as Harper was said to be focused on landing a long-term deal north of $300 million.

The Phillies, who have been the front runners for the longest time, were said to have moved to the front of the line again, and according to CBS Sports’ David P Samson, all the rumors were pointing toward Harper signing with the Philadelphia franchise in a deal worth $310 million over 10 years.

“Rumors spreading that Harper will be a Phillie for 10 years and 310 million. Boras gets bailed out again by an owner. Still doesn’t beat Stanton, but will certainly beat Machado. Like saving half a face for the player and the agent. Now, back to your regularly scheduled rumors,” Samson wrote.

But Fancred’s John Heyman claims Harper has multiple long-term offers for more than $30 million per season. However, the MLB insider also felt the Phillies were leading the chase for the six-time MLB All-Star.

Meanwhile, the Padres were unwilling to give up on the two free agents and were said to have made offers for both players in recent days. Machado, who has also been on the radar of the Phillies and the White Sox, was said to have an offer from the San Diego franchise for $250 million over eight years.

“Padres aren’t kidding around and are said to have made serious offers for both Machado and Harper. Their bid for Machado is believed to be for about $250M (and about 8 years) tho there is the Cali tax and possibly deferrals. Bid for Harper believed to be for more than that,” Heyman wrote Sunday.

Like Harper, Machado has also been waiting on a long-term deal north of $300 million, but is yet to receive an offer to match his demands. The best so far seems to be the Padres offer, while the White Sox, who have been the favorites for the shortstop are also said to have made an offer close to $250 million.

The Harper and Machado sagas are certainly nearing their conclusion but it remains unlikely that either of them would sign before spring training fully gets underway this week. The only turn of events could be that Harper, who was expected to be the second to sign among the duo, could agree a deal before Machado does.