It’s mid-February, pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training and Bryce Harper remains unsigned in free agency. At this point, it’s not surprising. There’s been little talk of a contract for both Harper and shortstop Manny Machado.
Harper, 26, has been linked to several different MLB franchises this free agency, though not much has come of it yet. What team is going to end up signing him?
MLB.com insider Mark Feinsand has listed all of the contenders.
The MLB insider believes there are two favorites to land Harper – his former team and one of their NL East rivals.
Feinsand has named the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies the two favorites for Harper.
Some have thought to count the Nationals out when it comes to Harper, but Feinsand (correctly, probably) says that is dumb.
Despite a reported offer of $300 million before Harper became a free agent, the Nationals were unable to get their franchise player re-signed before he hit the open market. Washington had an active offseason, signing Patrick Corbin, Kurt Suzuki, Trevor Rosenthal, Anibal Sanchez and Brian Dozier, and also trading for Yan Gomes. That’s not to say it is finished with Harper, who many inside the industry still believe will ultimately wind up back in Washington. The consensus is that Boras will give Nationals ownership a chance to exceed (or at least match) the biggest offer before Harper signs elsewhere.
The Phillies have been the team most consistently mentioned for Harper, though it’s unclear if there’s even been a contract offer.