Battle over free agent Bryce Harper shows signs of drawing to a close

We may finally be reaching the end of the Bryce Harper saga. (Photo: Johnmaxmena2)

For months, the Philadelphia Phillies were among the leading contenders to land one of the two big free agents available during this Hot Stove season.

With infielder Manny Machado coming off the market last week, the focus of the team was squarely on the other prize. Now it appears that the battle for outfielder Bryce Harper may be finally drawing to a close.

The Phillies may have put their final best offer on the table this past weekend when principal owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas and met on Saturday with Harper, his wife Kayla, and agent Scott Boras. Middleton then returned to Florida and has said that he will make no further public comments until the process is complete.

On Sunday it was the Los Angeles Dodgers turn to meet with the Harper group in Sin City. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was part of that Dodgers contingent and had this to say per Bob Nightengale of USA Today: “It was good, just trying to get to know each other. I think in the spirit of us, the Dodgers, vetting a certain process makes sense and for those guys to do their due diligence as well.

Then on Tuesday the San Francisco Giants took their shot, with CEO Larry Baer and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi known to have taken part in meetings with the Harper team. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that their sources indicate “the Giants and Harper’s team have discussed a 10-year contract.

If the most recent reports are to be believed, this would mean that both the Phillies and Giants have made long-term offers in excess of $300 million total dollars. It is believed that the Dodgers are hoping to lure Harper to SoCal with a more lucrative annual average value deal for a shorter term, perhaps three-to-five years for $35-40 million AAV.

There has also been increased speculation that a Harper deal for the long-term would have to include a player opt-out after three years. That would be smart from his perspective for a number of reasons.

First, it would allow him to re-enter free agency while still in his prime at age 29. Second, it would come a year after the free agency of Mike Trout, which will certainly elevate financial and other terms for all players. Third, it would come just as a new Basic Agreement was due between the players and Major League Baseball.

Everything is speculative at this point. Numerous sources are coming out with proclamations and predictions on a daily basis, stating that their individual sources have some new inside information to offer. Frequently these sources have differed wildly or outright contradicted others.

One thing feels certain. With spring training underway, game action already taking place in both the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues, and the calendar about to turn to March, this process is drawing to a close. These meetings for the Phillies, Dodgers, and Giants were very likely a chance to put up their last, best offers.

I am predicting that we have an end to this saga before the weekend. Let’s see what happens, Phillies Nation.






  1. Jeff Orbach

    February 27, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Let’s keep it going until June!!!

  2. Seahawk7

    February 27, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Well, I really wanted him to come to Philly. This would be the ideal spot for him. A young talented team, on the way up. However, I think it is time to be realistic. We could offer 10 years at $350 and Boras would probably come back with 11 years and $370 and on and on. I just hope it is the Giants and not the Dodgers. If he really wants to be on the west coast that bad, let him wallow away on an aging below 500 team for the next 4 to 5 years. Disappointing? Sure, but we still are significantly better than last year, and despite the late season lapse, we were still played well over expectations.

    • czontixhldr

      February 28, 2019 at 12:07 am

      IMO he won’t be worth the money. I will still be of that opinion even if the Phillies sign him.

    • schmenkman

      February 28, 2019 at 11:09 am

      Boras can ask for whatever he wants, but if he asks 11/370 and the Phillies say No, the 10/350 (in your example) may still be enough to get him here.

  3. Ray Dolan

    February 27, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Tell Bryce to forget it. The greed he and his agent have is crazy. Give him a year by year and stats must remain high. He has to get us to National
    League title and 3 World Series over the next. 5 years. Anything less we cut him and he returns the cash.

  4. Lets Move ON

    February 27, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    The Phillies should walk away from this mess. Harper clearly does not want to be here, or he would have signed by now. The Phillies are being used as pawn by Boras, and to continue to play this game is just absurd.

  5. Lou Possehl

    February 28, 2019 at 4:13 am

    By now I’m fed up with this, just like everyone else seems to be. But I wouldn’t walk away or forget it – if that means withdrawing our last and best offer. Instead, I’d leave it right where it is, so that SF or LA or anyone else who lands this oh-so-precious individual might at least have to pay absolute top dollar for the privilege.

    Either Harper here, or more financial flexibility for us next year and beyond, and that much less for the competition.

  6. Ray Swisher

    February 28, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    It’s time to move on and prepare for the 2019 season, Phillies. Add some pitching and wait to see who is available at the trade deadline. You never know, maybe Trout will be available, depending on the Angel’s situation at that time. Harper used the Phillies for leverage with the west coast teams. He never had any intention of playing on the east coast (except for the Yankees), or he would have stayed in DC. Stay the course and we will win a World Series before he does.

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