It looks like, as of now, the serious teams competing for Harper are the Phillies, the Giants, and the Cardinals. Harper and Boras reportedly had expected bidding to start at 10 years for $350 million.
It's not a surprise that the Nationals would try to make sure Harper didn't hit free agency, but this is still pretty interesting.
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He and Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Manny Machado are widely considered the top two free agents in Major League Baseball this offseason.
At MLB general managers' meetings Tuesday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo disclosed the talks with agent Scott Boras and said that "we took advantage of our exclusivity late in the season" to negotiate with the star outfielder.
Indeed, the Nationals need starting pitching, a catcher and to upgrade their bench.
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Don't dismiss this news as Harper out-and-out rejecting the Nationals. According to reports, the Nats' offer is now off the table, but the team is still open to a deal. "But I'm not comfortable with the statement that we're a better team without him". But for now, the Nationals made an offer that maintained a solid relationship with Harper while giving him what the team saw as fair market value.
Zack Greinke ($US34 million), David Price ($US31 million) and Clayton Kershaw ($US31 million) all got more. But no position player has ever earned an average annual value of more than $27.5 million (Alex Rodriguez and Yoenis Cespedes).
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