As reported earlier on Tuesday by ESPN‘s Jeff Passan, Manny Machado has just agreed to sign a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres, per league sources familiar with the negotiations. That leaves Bryce Harper as the most prominent free agent without a new destination ahead of the 2019 MLB season, and while several reports have claimed in recent days that he would likely be moving to the Philadelphia Phillies, a new rumor suggests that there’s a reason why his free agency saga has lasted so long. Apparently, the six-time All-Star has doubts about whether he should take his talents to Philadelphia or not.
In a Twitter message posted on Tuesday morning, SNY‘s Andy Martino provided the latest update on Harper’s free agency, noting that he has heard rumors that the outfielder — who had spent his entire seven-season MLB career with the Washington Nationals — is “unsure” whether he should sign with the Phillies.
“They’d better convince him for their sake,” Martino added.
Rumors of Bryce Harper joining the Philadelphia Phillies are far from anything new at this point, but there has also been some talk in the past suggesting he might not be too willing to sign with the team. Toward the end of December, the New York Post wrote that Harper, much like Machado, wasn’t much into the idea of signing with the Phillies. The publication added that if he had a choice, Harper would prefer to join the New York Yankees — though it was noted that the Yankees had “shown little interest” in the 26-year-old superstar at that time.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 17, 2019
Meanwhile, the Phillies have reportedly been doubling down on their efforts to sign Harper, even as several other teams have made offers that would pay him over $30 million per season, Bleacher Report wrote. As Machado reportedly agreed to the aforementioned 10-year, $300 million contract with San Diego, the publication speculated that the Padres’ offer to Machado could “set the standard” for anything Harper decides to sign.
Regardless of how much Harper earns per year after signing his next contract, USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale took to Twitter on Tuesday morning — stressing that the Phillies are now “focusing solely” on adding him to their roster now that Machado is reportedly headed to the Padres.
Although Harper hit just.249 for the Nationals in the 2018 MLB season, he did hit 34 home runs and 100 RBI. Additionally, as pointed out by Bleacher Report, those numbers represent an instant upgrade over the combined.225 batting average, 20 home runs, and 71 RBI from the Phillies’ right fielders last season.