The latest round of MLB rumors concerning Bryce Harper suggest that the in-demand right fielder is likely running out of options in Philadelphia, leaving the San Francisco Giants as his last best hope for a contract worth north of $300 million.
Even among Major League Baseball teams, there's only so much money to go around, and big-name free agents like Harper, Manny Machado, and Patrick Corbin eat up most of that money. That means that there are only so many teams that can offer Harper the money he wants, and as opening day approaches, that number is getting smaller by the minute.
San Diego a no-go?
In fact, as Sports Illustrated reports, one such team rumored to be in the running in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, the San Diego Padres, appeared to take themselves out of the running this week when they inked a blockbuster deal with Manny Machado. The ten-year, $300 million deal brings the Padres' payroll to $110 million, a franchise record, and puts the team out of the running for Harper.
Or does it?
According to a Twitter post from Fancred writer Jon Heyman, the Padres are still considering signing Harper.
"Padres are pulling off one surprise (once Manny's finalized) but here's another shocker : they aren't ruling out Bryce Harper, too. 110M payroll (with MM) is still lower than most."However, a "high-ranking Padres source" says that the Padres aren't planning on also signing Harper, per the San Diego Union-Tribune, saying simply, "We're not signing him."
Not feeling it in Philly
Most of the rumors surrounding Harper have put him in the sights of the City of Brotherly Love. The team had been courting both Machado and Harper, and with Machado having signed with San Diego, it seems like the way was paved for them to begin negotiations with the right fielder in earnest.
However, competing rumors point in different directions when it comes to Harper signing with the Phillies. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote on Twitter that Philadelphia remains "the most likely destination for Harper," if they can work their way around his contract demands -- 10 years at $300 million acting as a starting point for negotiations. Sports New York's Andy Martino wrote on Twitter that the Giants are swooping in on Harper, and that the Phillies "have a tough road to get it done."
Wait, the Giants?
The Giants had come up in this conversation before over the 2018-2019 offseason, and as recently as a few days ago, they were rumored to be out of the running. Now, however, they appear to be in the mix once again. There's Martino's tweet mentioned in the above paragraph, and there's an NBC News report that says that San Francisco is "still in the picture."
Hopefully Bryce Harper will sign a deal soon, perhaps even with a dark horse team like the Tampa Bay Rays, putting an end to all of these rumors.