Nats now front runners to sign Harper?

Ben Krimmel
January 05, 2019 - 11:07 am

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Where in the world is Bryce Harper signing?

"Bryce Harper's whereabouts still very much up in the air and up for grabs," Grant Paulsen said Friday on 106.7 The Fan. "Nobody's got a good feel, really, where he's going to end up right now." 

The most likely destinations remain: Philadelphia, the south side of Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington. 

However, the fog hanging over Harper's future may soon be lifting. 

Friday a report by former Nats GM Jim Bowden said the Nationals last offer to Harper was "much more than the $300 (million)" reported by the media. Bowden also said the reported "aggressive" offer the Nationals made of 10-years, $300 million was just their opening offer. 

This would indicate Washington is still very much interested in retaining Harper and the increased offer may have even made them the favorites to land the prized free agent. 

A source told Michael Duarte of NBCSports LA, "I would be surprised If (Harper) doesn't sign" the upped offer from the Nats.

In an interview with 106.7 The Fan in early December, Nats principal owner Mark Lerner said even if Boras returned to the negotiating table after rejecting Washington's best offer, a deal was unlikely.

"If he comes back, it's a strong possibility that we won't be able to make it work," Lerner told The Fan. "But I really don't expect him to come back at this point. I think they've decided to move on. There's just too much money out there that he'd be leaving on the table. That's just not Mr. Boras' MO to leave money on the table." 

Earlier this week week, reports emerged indicating Boras spoke with Mark Lerner's father Ted, the Nationals former principal owner, "for five hours on the Saturday before Christmas" about Harper. 

"If Ted Lerner's in the mix," Paulsen said. "As soon as he gets back in the mix: the money for Harper's gonna go up, the chance of him staying in Washington is gonna go up." 

While the door on a Harper return certainly looked closed in early December, a deal to stay in Washington looks again like a real possibility in early January. 

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