The minute the Boston Red Sox closed out the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series, the eyes of the baseball world turned to a free agent class that features two of the biggest names in the sport: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
The Dodgers inquired about acquiring Harper from the Nationals before July's trade deadline and later claimed him off waivers in August.
In the meantime, Harper will continue to field offers from other teams in hopes of landing a record-setting deal.
"Bank on it", Nightengale wrote of the Phillies signing Harper. But the Dodgers could have a change of heart. "Its elite. Global, certainly", Boras said of working on a deal for Harper in free agency. Teams do make token offers now and then, to save face or push the price up for rivals. For years now, Boras has been selling Harper as a talent so rare he could command more than $400 million, and when presented with that number this week, he joked, "Why be so limiting?" Even though Harper is still only 26, a 14-year deal with an average annual value of $30 million per season felt a bit excessive. It may not have been.
That leaves the Phillies, who Nightengale says are the expected destination for Harper among the majority of baseball people. For those of you without a math degree, $35 million per year over a 13-year period would be $455 million.
Harper's contract season of 2018 was a mixed bag. With that said, he also homered 23 times, drove in 54 runs and walked 78 times prior to the All-Star Break, so his first-half only disappointing by the high standards that he's set for himself.
Part of the thought in signing Harper would be that you may be paying for his peak.
Whether the Nationals will be without Harper remains to be seen. He led the league in home runs, runs scored, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS in 2015 when he won the AL MVP award.