Can free agent Bryce Harper get an offer for more than $300 million, which would put his contract over that of Manny Machado? According to a new report, more than one team is willing to give one.
According to a series of tweets by reporter Jon Heyman Tuesday morning, the Philadelphia Phillies have made an offer to Harper of more than $300 million, but that other teams have gone over that number as well.
“Phillies have offered Bryce Harper over $300M but word is others are over $300M, too,” Heyman tweeted. “They believe they may have high bid but their confidence to win was dented a tad by emergence of LA (a desired Harper spot). Philly has to decide whether to keep faith or dip into the stupid $.”
The “stupid $” is a reference to a comment by Phillies owner John Middleton, who said earlier in the offseason that “we’re going into this expecting to spend money… and maybe even be a little bit stupid.”
Heyman also noted that while the Phillies have had a strong offseason when it comes to adding players, they have missed out on major free agents such as Machado and pitcher Patrick Corbin. Furthermore, he added that the other California teams, the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants, have checked back in following the Los Angeles Dodgers’ meeting with Harper on Sunday. He also quoted one general manager as stating that Harper would take no meetings with teams not willing to make a long-term offer.
In another report Tuesday, Philadelphia radio host Angelo Cataldi reported (per The Inquisitr) that the holdup in the negotiations with the star player is that the Phillies have offered Harper $330 million, but that the player and agent Scott Boras are asking for an opt-out clause after three years, one which the Phillies have not yet granted.
Such a deal, if agreed to, would give Harper the largest contract in baseball history, overtaking the $325 million deal signed by Giancarlo Stanton with the Miami Marlins in 2014, while also giving Harper the flexibility to opt out and hit free agency again after the 2021 season, when he’ll only be 29-years-old.
Another baseball superstar, the Angels’ Mike Trout, is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season, so if Harper re-entered the market the following year, it would put him in position to sign a new contract that earns him more money then the contract Trout gets, either in free agency or prior to that.