Phillies manager Gabe Kapler met with reporters at the Major League Baseball winter meetings this afternoon in Las Vegas, and let me just say, the guy is a total quote machine:
Gabe Kapler said he wants the Phillies to build physical and emotional armor this offseason.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) December 10, 2018
Without question, acquiring a player of, say, Bryce Harper’s caliber would go a long way towards building up that physical armor, and Kapler was unsurprisingly asked during the session about baseball’s most coveted free agent. His answer did nothing to dispel the rumors of the Phillies’ planned aggressive pursuit of Harper.
Here he is, after the jump:
The NL East rival #Phillies are a rumored destination for Bryce Harper.
Gabe Kapler on what he loves about the free agent. pic.twitter.com/QJsf8EX0SS
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) December 10, 2018
His praise for Harper was what I would describe as effusive, and his answer differed in length and tone when talking about this winter’s other big-time free agent, Manny Machado.
The Inquirer’s Matt Breen checks in with a convenient side-by-side comparison:
— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) December 10, 2018
That answer on Machado was complimentary, but the Harper one was… swoonish.
For what it’s worth, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury says the team continues to make Machado its primary target:
Not surprising at all, but the Phillies and Team Boras are working out a time to meet here in Vegas. Phillies maintain interest in Zach Britton and Bryce Harper, though at the moment seem to be more on Manny Machado than Harper
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) December 10, 2018
This, while The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes in an interesting piece exploring the agent battle brewing between Scott Boras and Dan Lazano that the Phillies have an interesting competitor in their courtship of Harper – themselves.
Believe what you will.
You can check out Kapler’s full comments below:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) December 10, 2018