Early Rumors On The Bryce Harper Market

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According to USA Today, which cited persons with direct knowledge of the proposed deal, the offer would have paid Harper an average of $30 million per year but expired after the Nats lost exclusive negotiating rights last week.

So where does that leave Harper and the Nationals now?

According to multiple people familiar with the negotiations, the Nationals discussed terms for a new deal with Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, throughout September. With just over a month until the MLB Winter Meetings, it doesn't appear that a decision from Harper (or any major free-agent) is imminent. Harper and Boras reportedly had expected bidding to start at 10 years for $350 million.

Janes added, "Important on Harper: Both sides considered this a respectful offer". But if they do, it nearly certainly won't be that deal, and Mike Rizzo acknowledged Tuesday his team can not afford to wait around. They can not wait for Harper to make his decision - which many in the industry believe will come no sooner than the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas next month - and miss out on the market.

"I'm comfortable with the alternative [to signing Harper]", Rizzo said. "But I'm uncomfortable with the statement that we're a better team without him". It's not hard to see why Phillies managing partner John Middleton, along with general manager Matt Klentak and president Andy MacPhail, would be willing to issue a historic contract to Harper to play his home games at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.

While Harper could be exploring other options, it's still possible he might return to the Nationals.

No position player has ever received a deal worth more than $27.5 million average annual value. Zack Greinke ($34 million), David Price ($31 million) and Clayton Kershaw ($31 million) all got more. It was not enough.



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