Much like MLB free agency last winter, the offseason has gotten off to a trickling start. That’s despite a talented class that’s headlined by Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
Beyond being two of the best players on the open market, Harper and Machado are connected to one another in that some believe they could wind up on the same team. More specifically, the Philadelphia Phillies are viewed as the club in which that would come to fruition.
Though, the Phillies reportedly will navigate free agency without waiting on decisions from either of the two All-Stars. In Harper’s case, there’s a sentiment he may very well wind up re-signing with the Washington Nationals.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Nationals ownership have a strong preference for that to become true:
There are executives who believe the Nationals could still pivot and retain Harper because that is ownership’s desire.
The Nationals reportedly extended a 10-year, $300 million contract extension to Harper prior to the 2018 season concluding. It’s believed the deal did not include an opt-out clause.
While the reported value met the prediction many outlined for Harper, it’s plausible the Nationals’ offer further emboldened the 26-year-old and agent Scott Boras. While a bidding war has not broken out, it’s not necessarily a guarantee multiple clubs won’t pursue Harper.
The Los Angeles Dodgers may be among the teams that enter the Harper sweepstakes but they’ve stayed away from the contracts in the magnitude of what he may sign for. The Dodgers reportedly claimed Harper off waivers this season and attempted to facilitate a trade with the Nationals that included Yasiel Puig.