As recently as this past weekend, when Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas in his private plane to meet with big-name free agent Bryce Harper, as MLB Trade Rumors reported, the Phillies were generally considered the frontrunners to seal a deal with the six-time All Star who at age 26 is testing the free agent market for the first time.
But now, just a few days later, a new report on Twitter by a writer for the sports site Fansided says that the Phillies are now “very pessimistic” that they will land Harper. Their grim outlook, according to Da Windy City contributor Jason Kinder, is “not as much about the price, but more about his desire to play in Philadelphia.”
On Tuesday, The Inquisitr reported that Harper “prefers” not to sign with the Phillies, and that his preference would be to join a West Coast club — closer to his Nevada home — such as the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants, both of whom have reportedly sent top brass to meet with Harper since Sunday.
Harper himself may have given a clue as to where he will end up late on Wednesday when he apparently logged on to his Instagram account and “followed” two star players on the Dodgers — relief ace Kenley Jansen and outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger.
Earlier on Wednesday, the MLB Insider Twitter account, as The Inquisitr reported, posted its own report claiming that not only are the Dodgers the favorites to sign the former Washington Nationals right fielder, but that Harper had, in fact, already committed to a contract with the Dodgers — an unconfirmed report that had not been echoed by any other baseball journalist or source.
“The #Dodgers made a long-term $300M+ offer to Bryce Harper last night. You will soon see the rest of the media start to pick this up,” wrote the MLB Insider account on Twitter, at about 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday. The account also claimed that the deal would be announced by the Dodgers on Friday, and that Harper would submit to a physical exam by Dodgers medical staff on Thursday.
While the MLB Insider report remained without independent verification, and the identity of “MLB Insider” himself or herself has not been publicly revealed, a more familiar source of information, ESPN’s veteran reporter Buster Olney, cautioned on his Twitter feed that only Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, “knows exactly who’s offered what for Harper; officials involved are left to guess.”
Olney said that the Phillies are believed to have offered the most money to Harper, and that the Dodgers have offered the 2015 National League MVP only a shorter-term contract.