As the Phillies and Manny Machado continue negotiations on a long-term contract, a new report indicates the team is getting serious about the other big free agent still on the market, Bryce Harper.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports team officials will meet with Harper and his wife on Saturday in Las Vegas.
The Philadelphia Phillies front office – including owner John Middleton – is flying to Las Vegas on Saturday to meet with prized free agent Bryce Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, in their first face-to-face talks, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
It is notable that Middleton will be making the trip as well, putting Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, in the same room as the main who controls the team’s purse strings. It has been widely reported that Phils officials met with Boras during the Winter Meetings in Vegas, but not Harper himself, who did not make an appearance at the Meetings. Harper has reportedly met with Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers executives already, and both teams are seen as possible destinations for the superstar.
Harper’s previous team, the Washington Nationals, are said to still be in the mix as well.
The only public offer Harper has received was back on Sept. 26 when the Washington Nationals proposed a 10-year, $300 million contract that was slightly deferred, decreasing the value to $250 to $284 million. The Nationals said in November the offer was no longer on the table, and they since have spent $180 million on five free agents, led by starter Patrick Corbin’s six-year, $140 million contract.
The Phillies’ chief competition for Harper appears to be the Nationals, White Sox and Dodgers, although it’s possible teams like the Cubs or Cardinals could get involved in Harper signs a shorter-term deal.
Unfortunately, there is a drawback to the meeting being in Vegas.
Phillies to Hold Meeting with Bryce Harper 2,500 Miles from Nearest Union Electrician https://t.co/kQiwaDnzrj— Justin Klugh (@justin_klugh) January 7, 2019
Despite the absence of a Philadelphia-based union worker getting involved in the festivities, it appears as if the pursuit of Harper is finally heating up.