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Manny Machado & Bryce Harper Wait Out Free Agency, Potential Bidding War Looming Full view

Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits in the seventh inning as Travis d'Arnaud #7 of the New York Mets defends on October 4, 2015 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Manny Machado & Bryce Harper Wait Out Free Agency, Potential Bidding War Looming

Manny Machado appears to be in a standoff with Bryce Harper. The two 26-year-old stars have both drawn interest from the Chicago White Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies.

White Sox, Phillies Target Harper & Machado

The former Baltimore Orioles shortstop has also met with the New York Yankees. If Harper resigns with the Washington Nationals, it would leave Machado alone as the premier free agent on the market, setting off a bidding war.

According to The Athletic, Machado’s agent Dan Lozano “is barely engaging clubs at the moment, seemingly taking his time and waiting for a team to jump, according to team executives involved in the negotiations.”

Though the markets for both players appear to have frozen over, Sports Illustrated has run numerous articles about “baseball’s free agent freeze” and the reluctance of clubs, even big-market ones, to give out gigantic contracts to players based on past performances. Just this week, New York signed veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to join an infield that already includes Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres.

So far, only 50 players out of the 250 free agents this offseason have signed contracts. Last year, free agents like J.D. Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish and Eric Hosmer all didn’t sign contracts until February. Even then, they didn’t get the money that they would’ve gotten just five or six years ago.

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It’s been reported that the White Sox have made a serious offer to Machado. However, it was described as closer to $200 million than the $300 million he’s shooting for. Both the Yankees and Phillies appear to have turned their attention towards the reliever market. The Phillies went after David Robertson and New York looks to be closing in on Zach Britton.

Sources are reporting that neither Harper nor Machado are particularly intrigued by Philly and that both would prefer to be in New York. One source even went so far as to claim to expect an announcement from Machado in early January in the Bronx.  The Phillies are still planning to meet with Harper even as they wait on Machado’s decision.

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Written by Bill Piersa