No team has been linked to Bryce Harper more this offseason than the Philadelphia Phillies, who said at the start of free agency that they were ready to spend "stupid money" heading into the 2019 season.
So far, "stupid money" has not been spent. The Phillies missed out on both Patrick Corbin and Manny Machado, who signed with the Nationals and Padres, respectively, and are now facing some major competition for Harper.
Harper, who turned down a 10 year, $300 million contract from the Nationals at the end of the regular season, is believed to have garnered interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.
Both the Giants and the Dodgers, according to one report, have discussed a 10-year deal with the All-Star outfielder. The Phillies are believed to have offered Harper something similar.
The major holdup between Harper and the Phillies, according to MLB insider Steve Phillips, is an opt-out clause.
Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, are reportedly seeking an opt-out after the third year of the deal, like the one Nolan Arenado received from the Colorado Rockies. The Phillies, though, prefer the opt-out to come after five years.
"One of the obstacles in the #Phillies negotiation for Harper is the opt out. The Phils prefer an opt out after 5 years and Scott Boras wants an opt out after 3 years. I can’t imagine that it’s a deal-breaker for either side but it has been an obstacle to slow the process," Steve Phillips reports.
Earlier reports have speculated that Harper is just flat-out uninterested in playing in Philadelphia, while others believe that the All-Star outfielder will take whatever contract is biggest.
At this point, Harper seems to be down to the Phillies, Dodgers and Giants, though his free agency has been anything but predictable.