Phillies sign Manny Machado's longtime mentor, former Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson, reports say

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The Chicago White Sox apparently aren’t the only team trying to lure Manny Machado by hiring those close to him.

Days after Chicago signed free-agent outfielder Jon Jay, a longtime friend of Machado’s, the Philadelphia Phillies have added former Baltimore Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson as their new infield coach, multiple reports indicated Thursday night.

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The first member of Baltimore’s 2018 staff to find a new job, Dickerson isn’t just an infield coach, either, even if the Orioles found defensive success under his tutelage. As Philly.com’s Matt Breen notes, the 53-year-old assistant “has known Machado since Machado was 16 years old” and is widely seen as Machado’s mentor from the star free agent’s time in Baltimore.

In other words, the Phillies either accidentally landed a potential Machado bargaining piece or are making a not-so-subtle push to get the All-Star’s attention three weeks after hosting him at Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia, of course, may have coveted Dickerson’s expertise anyway considering the Phils finished 2018 with the second most errors in MLB — a big reason their hot start couldn’t carry them into the postseason. But it’s also hard not to read between the lines. The White Sox have all but gathered Machado’s Miami training buddies by signing Jay and landing Machado’s brother-in-law Yonder Alonso, so who’s to say the Phils’ addition of Dickerson isn’t a similar ploy to catch one of free agency’s biggest fish?

Reports this week suggested Machado is nearing a decision on where he’ll sign for 2019 after closing his last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. According to The Score in Chicago, the White Sox remain a viable landing spot with only Chicago, the Phillies and the New York Yankees as known contenders for Machado. Yet neither Philly nor Chicago has reportedly come close to the $300-million contract offers Machado expected entering the open market.

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