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#pounditFriday, December 9, 2022

Report: Nationals gaining momentum toward bringing back Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper

There was once a time when it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Bryce Harper would not be back with the Washington Nationals in 2019, but the star outfielder finishing his career where it started is looking more likely by the day.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported on Wednesday that there is “momentum building” toward the Nationals being able to re-sign Harper. The two sides are expected to meet in Las Vegas this week, and Feinsand listed a number of reasons why it is sounding like Harper could remain in Washington.

While there is always a chance of a mystery team entering the sweepstakes for a superstar free agent, it sounds like Harper’s suitors are down to the Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox. There have been reports that the White Sox will not go past seven years for either Harper or Manny Machado, and it is a virtual certainty that agent Scott Boras would not accept a deal of that length. The Phillies remain willing to spend big, but they have been viewed as a more likely landing spot for Machado.

The Nationals have reportedly already offered Harper $300 million (or more) over 10 years, which would be the largest deal in MLB history based on annual salary. The biggest in total dollar amounts is Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million contract. If Washington has already offered $300 million, they can’t be that far off of the number Harper and Boras are looking for.

Some of Harper’s recent social media activity created a buzz and breathed life into the theory that a mystery team could be waiting to pounce, but the Nationals appear squarely in the mix. Considering what they said earlier in the offseason about not expecting to have Harper back, that is at least somewhat surprising.

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