Report: Phillies emerge as clear-cut favorite to sign Harper
After a five-hour meeting with Bryce Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas, the Philadelphia Phillies have emerged as the clear-cut favorite to sign the superstar free agent, reports Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports.
The Washington Nationals - Harper's incumbent club that reportedly offered the outfielder a 10-year, $300-million deal before he hit free agency - seem to be waning in interest. Sources told Nightengale that a reunion with the organization that selected him first overall in the 2010 draft should now be considered a "long shot."
The 26-year-old Harper, and his agent Scott Boras, reportedly met with a Phillies contingent led by owner John Middleton, general manager Matt Klentak, and manager Gabe Kapler.
Despite the lengthy meeting, the Phillies have yet to make an official offer, but that's expected to come within a week. The team is confident it will land either Harper or fellow superstar free agent Manny Machado.
A recent report indicated Harper is seeking a record-breaking contract that would exceed the $325-million deal Giancarlo Stanton signed as a member of the Miami Marlins.
The Phillies have already been busy this offseason, signing outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson to multi-year deals, and acquiring Jean Segura and Juan Nicasio from the Seattle Mariners.
Harper is one of the best young players to ever hit free agency, winning the 2015 NL MVP and 2012 NL Rookie of the Year. After breaking into the league as a teenager, Harper has authored a .900 OPS with 184 home runs and 75 stolen bases over his seven-year career. Since entering the league, Harper's .900 OPS ranks sixth among hitters with at least 3500 plate appearances.