Phillies are in ‘deep and serious’ talks with Bryce Harper.
The Philadelphia Phillies came into this off-season expecting to sign either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, and now with Machado off the board, ownership is currently in negotiations with Harper and are reportedly refusing to leave Las Vegas without a deal.
According to Bob Nightengale from USA Today, the Phillies are nearing a deal with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper.
The Phillies owner John Middleton was quoted in November saying his club would be aggressive in acquiring talent this off-season, even saying that ownership might even be “a little stupid” with money. And while conversations had died down some over the last few days, at this point the Phillies seem like the only truly motivated club to land Harper’s talents.
With the Giants and Padres showing some interest but neither seem to be in the position to offer Harper anything close to what Machado just earned, the White Sox have made it clear they aren’t going to pursue Harper. The Nationals have also concluded their pursuit of their former franchise-star, eliminating another potential landing spot.
Teams like the Cubs and Dodgers have been on the outskirts looking in for some time but could be involved late – but with Spring Training starting this week it’s clear that the Phillies are the favorites and possibly the only team willing to meet Harper’s financial requests.
There have also been reports recently citing Harper’s lack of desire to play in Philadelphia, the Phillies adding Harper would make them true National League contenders and likely the favorites for the NL East in 2019. And while Phillies fans may be on the fence about Harper after showing some reservations about signing, the charismatic 26-year-old superstar should have no problem winning the fan base over if he replicates his 2015 MVP season.
No word on how close the deal is from Nightengale or anyone else, but if the Phillies are trying to wrap things up ASAP, an announcement should be coming shortly if Middleton his front office is able to convince Harper to sign on the dotted line.