The perceived frontrunners in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes soon could be outsiders.

The Philadelphia Phillies have been in the mix for Harper since the start of Major League Baseball free agency, and it sure seemed like the two sides were inching toward a deal. After Harper met with Phillies owner John Middleton last Friday, it was reported the superstar outfielder could come to an agreement on a 10-year deal with Philadelphia as early as Monday.

But in wake of recent chatter, you probably shouldn’t bank on Harper taking his talents to the City of Brotherly Love.

The Dodgers reportedly are making a late push to sign Harper, and Philadelphia allegedly is “concerned” the 26-year-old will end up joining L.A. But aside from Harper’s reported preference to sign with a West Coast club, the Phillies might be behind the eight ball in the Harper sweepstakes thanks to their bench boss.

Miller’s report is somewhat surprising. While Kapler didn’t get off to the best start in first season as Phillies manager, the ex-outfielder really turned things around to spark hope for the future in Philadelphia. And when it comes to “quirkiness,” Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon has it in spades.

But Harper’s impending contract will be the most important business decision he’s made in his life to date, so it’s tough to blame the six-time All-Star for doing his due diligence to the highest degree.

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