The Bryce Harper rumors apparently go on regardless of official updates, with Philadelphia Phillies fans now pointing to a team giveaway as a potential sign of his impending signing.
The offseason’s most coveted free agent has gone unsigned for months with no real signs of progress, leading both fans and sportswriters alike to search for some kind of sign about where the slugger will sign next. While the Philadelphia Phillies have always been seen as a frontrunner, there was a dearth of official updates from the two sides and fans are apparently getting anxious for some kind of indication of whether he will be on the team next year.
There could be one sign. Some intrepid Phillies fans discovered a team giveaway for an arm sleeve styled like the American flag, which looked nearly identical to the one Bryce Harper wore in the All-Star Game last year. To these fans, the giveaway was a hint that Harper would be on the team’s roster in 2019, which would justify the promotional item.
It’s not clear why the team would go through the trouble of scheduling a giveaway to celebrate a player not yet on the roster — or why they wouldn’t wait until Harper was officially signed to announce it — but the fans hungry for some kind of update still latched to the crumb.
There are some actual, substantiated rumors connecting Bryce Harper to the Philadelphia Phillies to go along with the internet sleuthing. This week, former MLB general manager Jim Bowden said he believed that the Phillies were nearing the end of negotiations with Harper and that his signing would be announced soon.
Jim Bowden, said on CBS Sports that the two sides were close to a deal.
“I keep hearing there’s a lot of momentum and traction on him signing with the Philadelphia Phillies,” Bowden said. “He could be rounding third and heading home shortly.”
— solar eclipse chaser (@ChrisChase_ESPN) February 16, 2019
Both Bryce Harper and fellow big-name free agent Manny Machado remain unsigned and there are little signs of progress for either one. Reports indicated that both were seeking in the neighborhood of $300 million, but the market has reportedly been slow to respond and neither have gotten the kind of long-term offers they desired.
The lack of progress has gotten the MLB rumor mill churning, with several teams being mentioned in connection to both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The New York Yankees have been a popular point of speculation, though there is no indication that the Bronx Bombers are close to signing either player.