The Las Vegas summit between Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies has come to a close, and now the two teams are expected to finalize a deal sometime in the next day.
Over the weekend, Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Harper’s hometown so the two sides could continue the discussions that have been reportedly going on for the past several weeks now. After a long free agency that has stretched into the beginning of spring training, there are signs that Philadelphia is the last team standing in the race for Harper and the two sides are now working on the particulars of a likely 10-year deal worth more than $300 million. The meeting was seen as a prelude to Harper’s signing, a meet-and-greet of sorts between Harper and the owner of the team prepared to lock him down for the next decade.
That signing could be coming soon. As Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported, there was growing optimism that the Phillies would be able to complete the deal with Bryce Harper by Monday afternoon. This comes amid reports that the other teams once in the running for Harper — including the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals — have bowed out of the race to sign him. The San Diego Padres were reportedly still on the peripheral of the Harper sweepstakes, but after already signing Manny Machado to a $300 million deal, it wasn’t clear how motivated the Padres would be to sign the other big-name and high-priced free agent.
MLB Network‘s Jon Heyman reported that there has actually been a second team in Las Vegas meeting with Harper, but did not say which team. He did note that the Philadelphia Phillies were still seen as the favorite to land Harper.
Philadelphia #Phillies owner John Middleton still in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper negotiations and optimism now is that 10-year deal with Bryce Harper is finalized by Monday afternoon.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 24, 2019
It was not clear from the latest rumor just how much the Philadelphia Phillies would be prepared to pay Bryce Harper. As The Sporting News reported, he is asking somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 million to $360 million in the 10-year deal, as he believes he is worth more than Machado because he is more marketable.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) February 22, 2019
While the MLB rumors indicate that Bryce Harper’s long free agency is finally coming to a close, there have already been a series of now-debunked rumors that his signing with the Philadelphia Phillies was imminent. For their parts, neither Harper’s team nor the Phillies have given any kind of official indication that they are nearing a deal.