Could Bryce Harper be a fit for the Red Sox?

Bryce Harper

Washington tried to lock up Harper with one of the richest deals in baseball history before he became a free agent, but he opted to test the market.

The Phillies, who have only two players signed beyond 2020 and whose primary right fielders, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr, combined for 25 home runs and 88 RBI last season, are prepared to offer Harper at least $400 million, according to Nightengale.

However, his quick rejection of the deal doesn't exactly inspire hope he'll be returning to Washington.

The Dodgers inquired about acquiring Harper from the Nationals before July's trade deadline and later claimed him off waivers in August. But if they do, it nearly certainly won't be that deal, and Washington's general manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo acknowledged on Tuesday that his team can not afford to wait around for the right-fielder to make his decision.

Since Harper was under contract with the Nationals at the time, they had exclusive rights to negotiate with him.

"I'm comfortable with the alternative (to Harper re-signing)", Rizzo added.

He has 10 years left on a 13-year, $325 million contract where he'll be making between $26 million and $32 million every year through the 2028 season.

The debate over where the stars would land has raged for months, and according to a new column from USA Today Sports MLB insider Bob Nightengale, the Phillies are the leaders in the clubhouse for Harper. His clients include Nationals pitchers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and former Nats outfielder Jayson Werth.

It remains to be seen if the Yankees want to have a decade more of Stanton's style of play.

Importantly for any future negotiations, Harper's deal would not be the largest in baseball history by average annual value. Zack Greinke ($34 million), David Price ($31 million) and Clayton Kershaw ($31 million) all got more. The Nationals were willing to make a strong commitment.

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