February 22, 2019
Wednesday was Scott Boras' day.
One day after the San Diego Padres shocked the baseball world by signing Manny Machado to the richest free agent deal in American sports history, the MLB super-agent had nearly everyone believing there were at least five teams still engaged in talks with Bryce Harper, and that the prized free agent had turned down multiple $300 million offers as he continued to weigh his options. There were also multiple reports that Harper wasn't totally sold on the idea of playing in Philadelphia.
Of course, in the 48 hours since, the teams had their chance to fire back as both sides continue to use the media as part of their negotiating tactics.
First there was the report that the San Francisco Giants were not optimistic they could sign Harper to a long term deal. Then there was a report out of Chicago that the White Sox weren't planning to pursue Harper now that they've missed out on their primary target, Machado. There was also the report that the Nationals have no intentions of offering Harper a deal comparable to Machado's deal with the Padres — and it's obviously going to take at least the 10 years and $300 million to land Harper. As for San Diego, despite one report that they could still be in on Harper even after signing Machado, they are out of the Harper sweepstakes, according to Bob Nightengale.
The #Padres are ecstatic landing Manny Machado, and with $300 million committed to Machado, are bowing out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. The #Phillies remain the front-runner for Harper while the #SFGiants are also in the picture.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 20, 2019
UPDATE [10:04 a.m.] — According to NBC Sports Washington, the Nationals are officially moving on from Harper after they haven't heard from him or his agent in months.
So where does that leave the Phillies? Well, in pretty good position considering there were five teams reported to be interested in Harper, and four of them seem to be trending toward not signing Machado, while the Phillies, according to Matt Breen of The Inquirer, are "confident" as they continue to "ramp up negotiations" with Harper.
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