Bryce Harper’s free agency decision, and that of his fellow star Manny Machado, remains the biggest unanswered question of baseball’s offseason, and throughout the last several weeks, various reports have claimed that a decision by the superstar Washington Nationals outfielder was close.
Now, a report from a Washington radio host who has been breaking stories throughout the process indicates that a decision on Harper’s new team is close.
Chris Russell, a radio host for radio station 106.7 The Fan in Harper’s current home city of Washington, D.C., is known to be well-sourced in Harper’s camp. Russell went on WIP, the radio station in Philadelphia, Friday and said that Harper has apparently made his decision, although no deal has been officially signed.
Appearing on WIP’s midday show, hosted by Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie, Russell said that Harper has been meeting in his hometown of Las Vegas all week with his camp, which includes his wife, his agent Scott Boras, and others.
“I’m [led] to believe by the people that I’ve talked to that are close to the situation,” Russell said. “Bryce was in a mood to celebrate yesterday. Now, the source said, ‘I believe it’s done.’ I don’t have concrete, 100 percent proof for you guys. I wish I did, otherwise I would have it and I would be running around with it.”
Earlier reports had stated that Harper was planning to sign by Valentine’s Day, which was Thursday, and Russell reiterated that that had been the goal. And while Harper may have chosen a team, no contract has yet been signed. Russell did not state which team Harper would be signing with, or was even leaning toward.
Harper, who at 26 is unusually young for a free agent, has played his entire career with the Washington Nationals, who drafted him out of high school when he was only 17-years-old. Harper won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 2015 and is considered one of baseball’s best players, although Harper has never won a playoff series with Washington.
Players for the Philadelphia Phillies, interviewed at spring training Thursday, expressed optimism that Harper would end up on their team, while also praising him as one of the game’s top players, per Inquisitr. Also this week, the general manager of the Houston Astros confirmed that the team nearly traded for Harper last July, although the Astros have not been known as a free agent suitor for the player.