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Why suitors have upper hand in Bryce Harper, Manny Machado chase

As MLB's two biggest free-agent names remain unclaimed, there are signs clubs can afford to wait them out for a more team-friendly deal. AP Photo/John Bazemore

Early last winter, the Boston Red Sox dangled an offer of $100 million to J.D. Martinez. And then the Red Sox waited.

And they waited, through the noisy misdirection of reports of mystery teams. And they waited some more. All along, Red Sox staffers were confident that for as great as Martinez had been in 2017, the industry concerns about his outfield defense would manifest and that their $100 million offer was solid. Finally, with the start of exhibition games looming, Martinez's agent and the Red Sox got down to haggling, to $110 million over five years and an opt-out clause, and the deal was pushed across the finish line Feb. 26.

Those circumstances seem to be at play again for this winter's two most notable free agents, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper