The New York Mets have apparently entered the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.
According to Fancred Sports' Jon Heyman, "there are hints" that the NL East team hasn't "totally ruled" out the possibility of signing the 26-year-old Harper, who stands to land the richest free agent deal in American sports history.
Before Heyman's report, the Mets were not strongly linked to the Harper sweepstakes. Per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, executives believe the Philadelphia Phillies will wind up winners of the Harper derby.
The New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals - Harper's team of seven years - have also been reported as potential suitors. Now, the retooling Mets appear to be in on the 2015 NL MVP who has terrified them since he broke into the league six years ago.
Led by powerful sports agent Scott Boras, Harper's camp figures to surpass Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million mammoth deal the Miami Marlins gave him in 2014. That remains the richest contract in North American sports history.
Harper has been considered the co-face of baseball alongside LA Angels star Mike Trout since his 2012 rookie season. That year, Harper burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old and led the Nationals to the playoffs for the first time since relocation from Montreal in 2005.
A six-time All-Star, Harper is a career .279 hitter with 184 home runs and 521 RBI. Given his age (26), powerful hitting, superb defense and status as one of the most recognized athletes in the world, Harper will have no problem signing a contract worth around $350 million.
What This Means
The Mets obviously have the financial resources to outbid other teams for Harper's services. But this team has a lot of weaknesses all over the roster, so it might not make sense to invest all their money into one player.
But it seems like the Phillies aren't a slam-dunk to get Harper at this point. With other NL East rivals in the bidding, the Harper sweepstakes could go on for quite a while. But when all is said and done, he'll be getting paid record and historic amounts of cash.