Bryce Harper is rumored to be considering new offers after contract talks with the Philadelphia Phillies are failing to advance; the latest twist in the free agency saga that has no end in sight.
The rumors surrounding the offseason’s biggest prize have grown as the days stretched into weeks and then months with no progress toward the reported $300 million contract he had been seeking. Though the Phillies have been seen as the frontrunner to sign Harper, recent reports have indicated that he is considering other offers.
On Sunday, MLB Network‘s Jon Heyman reported that Harper is starting to talk to other teams beyond Philadelphia. as the two sides have failed to come to an agreement. Heyman didn’t specify which teams that might be, but the San Diego Padres have reportedly been in close contention and met with Harper to discuss a potential contract.
The Padres, like the Phillies, have also been in on the race for Manny Machado and met with him as well. While it is not clear which team is considered the frontrunner at any given moment, most baseball insiders believe that the Chicago White Sox have the best chance to land Machado and the Phillies have the inside track on Harper.
While Heyman may have thrown some uncertainty into the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, other sources claimed that the Phillies are still closing in on the slugger. In an appearance CBS Sports HQ, MLB insider Jim Bowden said he believes the Phillies are nearing the finish line with Harper.
“I keep hearing there’s a lot of momentum and traction with him going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies,” Bowden said. “He could be rounding third and heading to home shortly. I’m hearing they’re pretty well down the process here.”
As things heat up, hear Harper is talking to other teams beyond Philly, and Philly is still talking to both Harper and Machado. Feels like Philly-Harper is the most likely match at this point tho.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 17, 2019
The number of years offered to Bryce Harper could be the sticking point. Heyman reported that contrary to some reports, Harper would not consider signing a short-term contract and was still angling for the roughly $300 million contract he believes he deserves. That would seem to favor the Philadelphia Phillies, as the team is primed to offer a mega contract to land Harper and jump into the lead for NL East contention.
END THIS ALREADY. "Bryce Harper is close to signing, someone says for 1,000th time" https://t.co/9XrBvPNbTQ
— Dylan Cooper (@DylanC00p) February 17, 2019
But there is still a total lack of clarity on what will happen with Bryce Harper, leading fans to latch onto whatever rumor they can — including some Phillies fans thinking that a team giveaway for a red, white, and blue arm sleeve is really a sign that they have Harper locked up.