Several big league general managers believe the Phillies will be aggressive in pursuing free agents Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel even if they sign one of Harper or Machado, reports Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports.
Philadelphia's interest in Harper and Machado has been well-documented. Harper is reportedly scheduled to meet with Phillies brass in Las Vegas on Saturday, which comes about a month after Machado visited them for a face-to-face meeting.
But, with the National League East becoming hotly contested after the busy offseasons of the Braves, Nationals, and Mets, adding one of the two superstars may not be enough for the Phillies, who are expected to spend lavishly.
Acquiring one or both of Keuchel and/or Kimbrel would certainly give them a competitive edge, albeit at a price. Both of the players are reportedly seeking long-term deals, with Kimbrel's ask exceeding $100 million.
Keuchel would provide the Phillies with something it's missing. A left-handed presence for a starting rotation full of right-handers.
The 31-year-old is coming off a down year where he allowed a league-leading 211 hits in 204 2/3 innings and his highest WHIP since 2013, but the 2015 AL Cy Young winner is a proven big-league arm with postseason experience.
Kimbrel's addition would give the Phillies a formidable duo at the back end of its bullpen along with the recently-signed David Robertson. For his career, the 30-year-old Kimbrel has practically been automatic in the ninth, saving 333 games in 367 career chances.
Last season, the Phillies had nine different players save a game, with Seranthony Dominguez leading the team at 16.