Take it from Manny Machado’s longtime coach and baseball mentor. The Phillies' best — and possibly their only — chance to land the free-agent megastar might well be to bowl him over with billionaire owner John Middleton’s money.

Bobby Dickerson has known Machado since the latter was 16 years old. As an instructor with the Baltimore Orioles, Dickerson played a pivotal role in turning Machado from a natural shortstop into a Gold Glove third baseman. And in a telephone conversation this week, Dickerson confirmed all the common presumptions about the 26-year-old, from his strong preference for playing shortstop to his relationship with Alex Rodriguez, and perhaps even his desire to follow A-Rod by signing a record-setting contract with the New York Yankees.

“Manny’s mindset is to be a shortstop. He really wants to play short,” Dickerson said. “But I do think for the correct team in the correct situation and the right contract, all those things, he’d be willing to play third. I don’t know this, but I believe it.”

And does Dickerson believe Machado would move to third base for the Phillies?

“I think if the contract is right, he would,” Dickerson said. “It may have to go an extra five million, or more, or whatever to get him out of [shortstop]. But if the contract is right, I think he would go to third.”

So, how badly to the Phillies want Machado? Badly enough to outbid the Yankees with an offer in excess of $300 million?

The answer will test Middleton’s recently stated intention to be “a little stupid” with his offseason spending.