Without casting doubt on any of these reports, it's important to remember how quickly things can change in free-agency, especially as we approach the Winter Meetings, which will begin on December 9 in Harper's hometown of Las Vegas.
The Nationals reportedly made Harper a huge long-term offer at the end of the regular season, but he declined it. Importantly, both sides felt the offer was legitimate and respectful. But if they do, it nearly certainly won't be that deal, and Mike Rizzo acknowledged Tuesday his team can not afford to wait around.
Harper has played for the Washington Nationals since 2012, but many expect him to look elsewhere in free agency. Giancarlo Stanton signed a 13-year, $325 million deal with the Marlins, but now has $270 million remaining over the next 10 years following his trade to the Yankees.
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Major League Baseball free-agency began on Saturday and the winter meetings will be held from December 9-13 in Las Vegas.
If Harper signs elsewhere, the Nationals' outfield next season will consist of Juan Soto in left field, Victor Robles in centre and Adam Eaton in right field, with former Gold Glove finalist Michael A. Taylor as a back-up in centre. Nightengale says that Harper is seeking a 13-year deal that tops the average annual value of $34.42 million that Zack Greinke now has in his deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. "But I'm uncomfortable with the statement that we're a better team without him".
Whether the Nationals will be without Harper remains to be seen. Harper will soon finally be available to sign with other teams after years of speculation about the Washington Nationals star's future.
Average annual value would have been $30 million, USA Today Sports's Bob Nightengale reports.