The Phillies have put forth an offer to free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper that would guarantee him more than $300MM, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). That would indicate a willingness to top Manny Machado’s record-setting $300MM free-agent deal with the Padres. It’s not clear if Philadelphia’s offer is also greater than Giancarlo Stanton’s overall record $325MM contract.
Heyman suggests that there’s at least one other club that has expressed a willingness to top $300MM to sign Harper, which would be a surprising new development at this stage in his free agency. While the Nationals offered Harper an extremely deferred $300MM back in late September, there have been no recent indications that any of the remaining Harper suitors would come close to that mark
As of yesterday, the Dodgers and Giants were said to be the only two teams still in the mix for Harper, and both were said to be pursuing him on shorter-term contracts with sizable average annual values. The presence of another $300MM+ offer, if accurate, would represent a considerable change of heart for either of those California-based clubs (or the presence of another team involved in the bidding). Joel Sherman of the New York Post explored the situation yesterday, noting that the Dodgers appear willing to offer Harper a record-setting annual value — “at least $35 million a year, perhaps closer to $40 million” — but only over four or, at absolute most, five years. Sherman writes that he spoke to one person involved who “insisted not to undersell the Giants,” as well.
Over the weekend, the Phillies were optimistic of completing a 10-year deal with Harper by yesterday — an outcome that clearly didn’t happen and was likely impacted by the Dodgers’ Sunday-evening meeting with Harper in Las Vegas. Harper still expects to finally make his decision this week, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, bringing to an end an exhausting saga and likely resulting in at least one type of contractual record.