Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper is yet to make a decision on his next destination after meeting with a number of franchises. In this picture, Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals at bat in the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, July 26, 2018. Mark Brown/Getty Images

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the two most sought-after free agents in baseball at the moment and there are a number of franchises interested in either one or both the players. Twenty-three days into the New Year and it still remains unclear as to their potential destinations before spring training begins in February.

It is no secret that the Philadelphia Phillies are big admirers of both the players and are reportedly among the only teams that can afford to sign both. They do not have any long-term financial commitments at the moment and have actively pursued both the players despite their demands for a long-term contract north of $300 million.

Machado met with the Phillies in December during his three-city tour when he also met with the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. He was initially touted to be the Philadelphia franchise’s preferred option, but they seemed to have tilted toward the right-fielder in recent weeks.

Harper had his first face-to-face meeting with the Phillies, which included the general manager and owner John Middleton earlier this month and the latter described the encounter as "very positive". After which they have been installed as the clear cut favorites to land the right-fielder ahead of the Washington Nationals and White Sox.

Meanwhile, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, via, the Minnesota Twins have emerged as one of the mystery teams that could sign either Harper or Machado. The baseball insider also claims that the Houston Astros could also make a play for the latter, but only if he is willing to accept a short-term deal with opt-out clauses.

Olney has also pegged the New York Giants and the Atlanta Braves as potential suitors for Harper. While the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs as potential mystery teams for either player. The mystery teams are likely to sit back and see the situation play out before making their move. At the moment, the Phillies, White Sox and Yankees seem to be the genuine contenders for the duo.

However, Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who claims not to have any insider knowledge of the situation, believes his team will certainly land one of Harper or Machado this offseason. They have already made additions to their roster and the first baseman is certain that they can add fear to their rivals in the division by signing one of the two in-demand free agents.

“I have a gut feeling that we’ll get one of them,” Hoskins said Tuesday, as quoted on NBC Sports Philadelphia. “It’s been fun to follow. It seems like everybody has no clue what’s going to happen. It’s exciting. It should be exciting for the game itself because these are two generational talents. They’re exciting players and the game needs exciting players like that."

“Obviously, we hope that one of them, at least one of them, ends up here. It’s hard not to get excited because we feel like we’ve already gotten better on the field and in the clubhouse,” he explained. “Adding a name like one of these two guys would add more credibility to what we’ve already done this offseason and maybe some fear within the division. It’s exciting to be in the conversation. It gives us confidence that the front office believes we’re ready to contend for a championship. I don’t think if they didn’t think that that we would be thrown in these conversations.”