Philadelphia Phillies: The Harper-Machado rivalry is officially underway

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

For the first time since signing a pair of record deals this offseason, Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper will face off against Manny Machado.

The minute free agency started last November; all eyes were on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. All offseason long, the Philadelphia Phillies were connected to both of them. Would they land both, one of them, or strike out completely?

Obviously, we all know how it ended up. Machado inked a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres in mid-February and Harper followed by signing with the Phillies to a 13-year, $330 million record deal, at the time, at the end of February.

Machado met with the Phillies in December and rumors said it went well, but it felt like the whole offseason, the Phillies and their fans preferred Harper. It seemed the Phillies were all in on Harper and after a couple of meetings with him in Las Vegas, he decided to come to Philadelphia.

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Now, for the first time since signing setting contracts this past offseason, the two crown jewels of the 2018-19 offseason will square off. The Phillies will square off with the Padres for three games out in San Diego this week.

There are a lot of storylines surrounding the Phillies right now. How will the acquisition of Jay Bruce pan out? Will the Phillies respond after being swept by the Dodgers?

But, the overarching storyline this week may as well be the matchup of two of the newest richest men in baseball and which team is better off from their respective deals. Obviously, it is way too soon to judge these deals and who won, but fans will be quick to look at early returns to judge a winner.

Looking at the average, home runs and hits, it appears they are about even. The big difference is when it comes to producing runs. Through June 2nd, Harper holds the edge in RBIs by 16 and in runs scored by eight.

These numbers should not be too much of a detriment in who has had the better season thus far. Harper is more of a run producer, while Machado is more of a table setter/get on base guy. It is way too early to even think about who had the better signing; something made clear when looking at the numbers.

Both teams are on track to have better seasons than last year, but the Phillies do appear to be in a better situation through two months. While no one should be pinpointing a winner, the Phillies do appear to have reaped more benefits from their respective splashy signing.

It obviously helps the Philadelphia Phillies have more talent around Harper then the Padres do around Machado, and the addition of Harper has revitalized Philadelphia as a baseball city. The same is tough to say about the city of San Diego.

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Who knows who will have the better career with their new team? That is something that can be revisited in a few years down the road. But what we do know is that this week will be the first chapter of many in the Harper vs. Machado “rivalry.” If you even want to call it that.