The pretenders to win Bryce Harper’s services have faded away, and just two contenders remain.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale believes that’s the current state of Harper’s free agency saga, with the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies being the last teams still in the running. Nightengale asserted as much Monday night during his appearance on San Francisco radio station KNBR’s “Gary and Larry” show.
“They (the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers) are definitely out of it,” Nightengale said. “Right now I really do think it’s the Giants and the Phillies. It’s a two-team race here.”
The Phillies have been among Harper’s leading suitors since he entered free agency, but the Giants are late entrants in the running for his signature. Few know for certain whether the Phillies have offered Harper the record-setting contract terms he reportedly desires, but Nightengale is sure the Giants haven’t.
“What their game plan is is they’ll probably offer a 5-6 year deal at good money,” Nightengale said. “Probably $30 million a year or so, or probably more even, to try to get him. And say, ‘You know what, do you want a short-term contract to come to San Francisco, or do you want a long-term contract and go to Philadelphia.'”
Nightengale also isn’t ready to predict whether Harper will choose the Giants or Phillies.
“With the Giants moving in and all the optimism, I do believe it’s a coin flip,” Nightengale concluded. “I think for the Phillies to get Harper, they’re going to have to grossly outbid the Giants to get him, I really do. I think if it’s close he goes to San Francisco, if there’s a huge gap, it’s tough to walk away from that kind of money.”
The Phillies will hold their first spring training workouts with position players next Monday, and the Giants will do so next Tuesday. The baseball community expects a conclusion to the Harper saga by then.