Nothing has been made official at this point in Bryce Harper’s free agency saga, but if a new tweet from CBS Sports‘ David P. Samson is to be believed, the six-time MLB All-Star outfielder might indeed be moving to the Philadelphia Phillies and signing a rich long-term deal with the team.
On Sunday morning, Samson took to Twitter to note that there have been rumors that Harper will be inking a 10-year contract with the Phillies for $310 million. The purported deal still won’t be the richest in major league sports history in terms of dollar value — current New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton set that record when he signed a 13-year, $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins after the 2014 season, per the Economist. However, Samson added in his tweet that Harper’s contract “will certainly beat” the one his fellow high-profile free agent, Manny Machado, is expected to sign.
Assuming Bryce Harper is indeed ready to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies for 10 years and $310 million, the contract will only be paying him $10 million more than what the Nationals offered him at the end of the 2018 MLB season. However, Fansided blog That Ball’s Outta Here pointed out that differences in state income taxes might allow Harper to keep “significantly more” money in Philadelphia. Furthermore, the publication speculated that the Nationals’ penchant for deferring money in contracts might have deterred Harper from accepting their offer.
In the days prior to Samson’s tweet, multiple sources have also claimed that Harper could be headed to the Phillies after close to four months as a free agent. As recapped by the Sporting News, former MLB general manager Jim Bowden remarked on CBS Sportsline on Saturday that Harper “could be rounding third and heading for home” in terms of his contract negotiations. Bowden, who now writes for the Athletic, further specified that there has been “a lot of momentum and traction” regarding the rumors that Harper would soon be signing with the Phillies.
— Bleacher Report MLB (@BR_MLB) February 16, 2019
Separately, the Inquisitr reported on Saturday that some sharp-eyed fans spotted a Phillies giveaway similar to the arm sleeve worn by Harper in the 2018 MLB All-Star Game. This was reportedly seen as an indication that the star outfielder could be on his way to Philadelphia.
Although Harper remains unsigned with less than a week before the start of spring training, the Sporting News pointed out that it isn’t unprecedented for agent Scott Boras’ clients to wait so long before inking new contracts. Last year, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer respectively signed with the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres well into February, which fits the current timeline of the still-ongoing Bryce Harper sweepstakes.