Major League Baseball rumors: Bryce Harper rejected Nationals' contract offer before free agency

So where does that leave Harper and the Nationals now?

The 26-year-old outfielder, who has spent his entire career with Washington, became a free agent after the season. Wait a minute. Didn't Boras claim during the World Series that Harper already made up his mind where he wanted to play and had a deal hammered out?

Harper headlines one of the most valuable free-agent classes in Major League Baseball history, which also includes infielder Manny Machado, closer Craig Kimbrel and former Cy Young Award victor Dallas Keuchel.

Since Harper was under contract with the Nationals at the time, they had exclusive rights to negotiate with him. It will cost them roughly $US13 million. 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.

Wednesday evening, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported from the annual general manager meetings in Carlsbad, California, that the Phillies are the "logical destination" for Harper in 2019 and beyond. "There is a reality that we would love to sign him, but we may not". That Nationals offer may be off the table in its current form, but Boras rarely lets a high-spending team drop out of the race for a high-priced client.

One solution could be to move Harper to left field, if he is willing to do so, or the Dodgers could again look to trade Puig and upgrade at another area of need. The Phillies have so much money to spend that the organization hasn't even completely ruled out a scenario in which both Harper and Manny Machado are on the team next year, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman.

Zack Greinke ($US34 million), David Price ($US31 million) and Clayton Kershaw ($US31 million) all got more. Max Scherzer got exactly $30 million.

It remains to be seen if the Yankees want to have a decade more of Stanton's style of play. It was not enough.

  • Rosalie Stanley