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February 23, 2019

Will deal get done after Phillies owner flies to Vegas to meet with Bryce Harper?

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010719_Middleton_usat Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports, File

Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton.

Just in case you weren't glued to Twitter last night like we were, let's get you caught up on the latest developments in the Bryce Harper saga. And yes, it truly is a saga with no shortage of dramatics.

First, the Phillies — as they have been — are still reported to be the favorites to sign Harper. Friday night, the Phillies ownership wasn't content with sitting and watching from the sidelines.

This news was shortly after confirmed by MLB insider Jon Heyman, but it was clear from his reaction this was an unexpected development. With Manny Machado signing at $300 million, many believe Harper is gunning to eclipse that mark by some margin. The debate took off as to whether Harper was worth the money he is reportedly seeking, and whether Phillies' GM Matt Klentak would be willing to spend that much.

So why exactly, is one of the Phillies' owners going to visit with Harper without Andy McPhail, the team's president, or Klentak, the team's GM? Is ownership looking to force the baseball operation's folks' hands? One can't help but be suspicious. Middleton, as reports say, will be flying back to Philadelphia with Harper. So, does that mean a deal is close?

One has to ask, amid all this drama and the drawn out process, who exactly the Phillies are bidding against? It could simply be fact that no one has offered what the Harper camp truly wants and Klentak was waiting to see if the Phils offer would suffice once the season crept closer. 

Saying a deal seems like it is close would kind of be crying wolf at this point. At several stages since November, the Phillies seemed close to reeling in their big fish, and every time it appeared neither Harper nor the Phillies were anywhere near making a deal. 

This Middleton news makes a signing sound promising, but there is still no way to tell what the heck is actually going on. 

Perhaps with games starting in Clearwater, things will happen this weekend. If they do, follow along here with our open thread/live stream to keep tabs on every development on what could be an important weekend for the Phillies:


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