‘Bank On It’: Phillies Lead Race To Sign Bryce Harper, Report Says

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado? Phillies fans shouldn’t hold their breath

The Phillies aren’t likely to bring in both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. AP

Bryce Harper's free agency - or, as agent Scott Boras termed at the GM Meetings today, "Harper's Bazaar" - will be one of the most fascinating storylines the 2018-19 offseason has to offer.

This is as close to a report that the Phillies have officially signed Harper as you will ever get. That would easily beat the record $325 million deal Giancarlo Stanton originally signed with the Miami Marlins. 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?"

Regardless of what the New York Yankees say during the early parts of this offseason, they will continuously be linked to free-agent megastar Bryce Harper. 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.

Harper was publicly reminiscent and nostalgic on September 26, the Nationals' final home game of the season and reportedly the day he received the team's new offer.

If the Phillies have indeed signed Harper, it would give them one of the best players baseball has seen in this generation.

LeBron James reacts to Jimmy Butler being traded to Philadelphia
Butler, 29, requested a trade during the preseason and told Minnesota he plans to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. At the time of identifying his preferred trade destinations, Butler reportedly did not include the Lakers on the list.

Harper will test the market in search of a more lucrative contract this winter along with other notable free agents, such as infielder Manny Machado.

It appears if Middleton is serious, Harper is there for the taking - and unless the team blows it, should end up in a Phillies' uniform. A year ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs looked to be the favorites to sign Harper.

According to a report from ESPN's Buster Olney, Harper won't be joining the Bronx Bombers.

Last season, Harper hit just.249 at the plate but led the league in walks (130), finishing with a triple-slash of.249/.393/.496 with 34 doubles and 34 home runs. The six-time All-Star and 2015 NL MVP boasts 184 homers, 521 RBIs and a.900 OPS during his six-year career in Washington.

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