- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2019

After weeks of speculation, we may finally be closer to some of the most coveted free agents in Major League Baseball history finally signing.

The Philadelphia Phillies are the favorites to sign Bryce Harper after he met with the team over the weekend, USA Today reported. However, ESPN’s Jeff Passan noted that it’s possible Harper can still return to the Washington Nationals.

ESPN also reported that the Chicago White Sox, who are also in on the Harper sweepstakes, offered an eight-year contract to Manny Machado, the other highly prized free agent on the market. It may be that Machado will have to sign first, whether with Chicago or elsewhere, to unstick the logjam of MLB free agency.

For months, it was assumed that the Nationals were out of the Harper sweepstakes. They were said to have offered him a 10-year, $300 million contract at the end of the 2018 season, and Harper turned it down. Owner Mark Lerner told 106.7 The Fan that the team told Harper it was the best they could offer, adding he didn’t expect Harper to play for the Nationals again.

But former Nationals general manager Jim Bowden stoked the fire this month by tweeting that the team had not walked away from the table after Harper declined the initial offer, raising the terms to something “much more than” $300 million in total.



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