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February 26, 2019

Who are the Phillies bidding against for Bryce Harper?

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012919_Bryce-Harper_usat Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

Free agent outfielder Bryce Harper.

The Phillies want Bryce Harper. The Phillies have reportedly made a very big offer to Bryce Harper. The Phillies' owner flew to Las Vegas for an impromptu second meeting with Harper and his team. The Phillies have been courting Bryce Harper for more than four months now.

The Phillies still have not signed Bryce Harper.

Why hasn't this thing wrapped up yet? Well, there could be a lot of reasons. Let's try and make sense of it all.

First, the Phillies — by all accounts — have the highest current bid for the star 26-year-old outfielder. But they aren't bidding against themselves as many have feared. There is at least one other team in the way:

Which other team could offer $300 million-plus? Well, it's probably not the Giants or the Dodgers — two teams interested but not willing to exceed the $300 million mark.

Who could the mystery team be? The Nationals, his former team, could be the culprit, despite their owner saying just last week that his team had "moved on." They've kept tabs on things and even made a reported $300 million offer way back when this all started, a deal which Harper turned down. Maybe he's considering staying put rather that joining with Philly.

There is an end in sight, at least we think, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale claims the deal — whomever it is with — will get done before the end of the week.

Harper is expected to make his decision by the end of this week, two team executives told USA TODAY Sports. The executives spoke on condition of anonymity because of ongoing negotiations. [USA TODAY]

And so, as of Tuesday, it appears to be a race between four clubs for Harper with Philadelphia's offer being the highest. So basically, it's almost exactly the same as it was back in December.

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