The top free agent available this winter, Bryce Harper, is still available on the open market and it remains a complete mystery what team he intends to sign with or even who the favorite is at this point.
Considering Harper was drafted by and spent his first seven Major League seasons with the Washington Nationals, it was originally believed that a return could be possible, if not likely.
But the Nationals reportedly offered him a 10-year, $300 million contract at the beginning of the offseason that was rejected. They then went on to sign starting pitcher Patrick Corbin to a lucrative contract, which made a return for Harper seem less possible.
Nationals owner Mark Lerner even went as far to say that he does not expect Harper to return. As time goes by though, things change and according to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Harper has recently met with the Nationals and a return can’t be ruled out:
Harper has met multiple times with representatives of the Washington Nationals, according to a club source, and the possibility of a return to the place he spent the first seven years of his career persists, despite Nationals owner Mark Lerner’s insistence that Washington would not stretch beyond the $300 million offer Harper rejected near season’s end.
One other team that has shown interest in Harper is the Los Angeles Dodgers, although they seem unwilling to give him a 10-year contract like the Nationals and some other teams are prepared to do.
The more teams that present Harper with offers, the worst the chances that he lands in Los Angeles get.
If they do not sign Harper, the Dodgers may shift their focuses to other options like A.J. Pollock, who is a free agent, and Nick Castellanos, who they have been in trade discussions with the Detroit Tigers about.