Bryce Harper Free Agency Rumor: Phillies Emerge As Favorites

It doesn't sound like there will be much of a race for All-Star slugger Bryce Harper - the most desired free agent in the history of Major League Baseball.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Harper "looks to be headed to Philadelphia," adding that it's difficult "to find an executive, scout, or rival agent who" believes Harper will sign anywhere else.

Nightengale explained why other potential suitors are essentially out of the Harper sweepstakes. It started with the 2015 NL MVP rejecting a 10-year, $300 million extension to remain with the Washington Nationals.

On top of that, the well-respected MLB journalist added that the Chicago Cubs won't want Harper unless they can clear out the contracts of Yu Darvish and/or Jason Heyward, which is a pipe dream right now.

Nightengale said the reigning NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers aren't interested, the St. Louis Cardinals - long mentioned as a possible landing spot -  "don’t have bright lights," and the San Francisco Giants are simply "changing course."

With that, it all adds up to the Phillies being the prime landing spot for Harper. With a rich television contract, a big market to offer and plenty of money to spend, the Phillies can afford to give Harper that contract north of $300 million that he desires.


Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies have good reason to go all in for Harper, too. They have a promising young core consisting of Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera and Aaron Nola, plus one of baseball's deepest farm systems.

And it'd be a double whammy for the Phillies in stealing away Harper from the long-time NL East rival. Adding the All-Star outfielder would take them to championship contender status, all while significantly weakening their divisional foes.

Harper is one of the best hitters in baseball, but his name alone would do enough to significantly boost Phillies' attendance and television ratings. Whether it costs them $300, $350 or $400 million, it's safe to say Philadelphia will get their money's worth if they win the Harper sweepstakes.

Barring any last-second gasps from other teams, it seems as though Harper will head to the City of Brotherly Love to finish out his baseball career.


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