The Philadelphia Phillies were unable to land Manny Machado, as the star shortstop signed with the San Diego Padres instead. The organization is reportedly motivated to make sure that doesn’t happen with Bryce Harper.
Harper, the star right fielder for the Washington Nationals, has been linked to the Phillies all offseason, though it’s unclear if a massive contract offer has been made.
Philly.com had an update on Harper and his negotiations this morning. Apparently, they’re ramping up.
The Phillies are reportedly “confident” that they’ll land Harper.
The Phillies’ confidence is increased by a market for Harper that appears to be thinning. Their biggest challenger could be San Francisco, but the Giants appear leery of a long-term deal. MLB.com reported Wednesday that a return to Washington was unlikely as the Nationals “have no plans” to sign Harper to a deal comparable to the one Machado scored. The Padres were in on Harper, but their deal with Machado likely takes them out of the race. The White Sox said a $300 million contract for Machado “wasn’t feasible to us” and they are not expected to be motivated to spend on Harper.
The Phillies, days after losing out on Machado, appear to be in the driver’s seat to land Harper. They revamped their roster this offseason by adding Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson. The Phillies improved, but so did the rest of the National League East. Harper is enough for the Phillies to enter the season as division favorites.
Harper would be a massive coup for the Phillies, but again, it’s unclear if Philadelphia has actually made him the kind of gigantic contract offer he’s seeking.
The Phillies do appear to be the frontrunner for the star outfielder, but at this point everything appears to still be speculation.