Now that Manny Machado’s 10-year, $300MM deal with the Padres has been announced, Bryce Harper and agent Scott Boras have a definitive bar to attempt to clear as they seek a record-setting contract of their own. Yesterday’s slate of rumors on Harper had a series of updates on how the Phillies, Nats, White Sox and Giants view the former NL MVP now that Machado is off the board. Here’s a look at the latest chatter on “Harper’s Bazaar” as the long, drawn-out saga inches toward a resolution…
- MLB.com’s Jon Morosi joined Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area for Pavlovic’s latest Giants Insider podcast (audio link; Harper talk beginning around 12:45), wherein Morosi called an 11-year contract for Harper “very possible.” As others have done before him, Morosi suggested that Harper is expected to receive a larger contract than the one Machado received in San Diego.
- Coming away from their pursuit of Machado empty-handed has “heightened” the Phillies’ pursuit of Harper, writes Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Breen writes that the organization is confident it’ll be able to sign the six-time All-Star, adding that the Phils “will be much more reluctant to walk away this time.” General manager Matt Klentak spoke candidly this week about the fact that Machado’s price point simply got to a point that exceeded the team’s valuation of Machado. It’s not clear whether the organization will take a similarly practical approach to Harper in the end, but Breen notes that the front office and ownership are keenly aware of how the public would perceive a scenario in which the Phillies fail to sign either Harper or Machado.
- Padres ownership will meet tomorrow to determine if it is feasible to make a run at signing Harper in addition to signing Machado, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. As one would expect, Heyman notes that such a scenario is not at all considered likely, but it seems that the organization’s partners will at least perform due diligence and see if such a strategy can be pieced together. Heyman further tweets that for the Nationals, the ultimate call on Harper will come down to Ted Lerner (despite the fact that in 2018, Lerner ceded control of the organization to his son, Mark). The elder Lerner’s relationship with Boras is well-documented, though virtually every report out of D.C. over the past several weeks has suggested that the Nationals won’t be a top bidder for Harper.
- Bruce Levine of 670 The Score / CBS Chicago reports that the White Sox will not bid on Harper, echoing similar sentiments reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale yesterday. Levine notes that the organization is quite high on some of its outfield prospects, noting that the ChiSox could make a short-term pickup in the outfield to help bridge the gap to that young talent.