One team reportedly might be making their final push to sign Bryce Harper, and it's not the Giants.
Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton's private jet was in Las Vegas -- hometown of the free-agent outfielder -- on Friday, a "person in that city" told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury.
A source in Las Vegas tells me that Phillies owner John Middleton’s plane is on the ground in that city. Vegas is Bryce Harper’s home town. No other details, but talks clearly ongoing.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) February 23, 2019
This does not, however, mean the Phillies and Harper are quite ready to complete a deal, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Friday night.
Barring something completely unexpected, Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies will not be consummating a deal tonight, league sources tell ESPN. Owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas for more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal, sources said.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 23, 2019
Hours earlier, the Washington Nationals ruled themselves out of signing Harper. The Nationals drafted Harper No. 1 overall in 2010, and he has played all 927 games of his major league career in a Nats uniform to this point.
MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Friday night that the Nationals want Harper to sign anywhere but with their NL East rivals.
Phillies owner John Middleton appears to be flying solo (or at least he’s at the Bryce Vegas meeting w/o MacPhail/Klentak). Phils have long felt like favorite, thanks to great park (esp for lefty sluggers), improving team and of course “stupid $.” JM obvs hoping to close deal.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 23, 2019
While Nats owner Mark Lerner, in saying they’re “moving on,” left door open “a crack,” father Ted is a wild card and Nats people would prefer Harper go anywhere but Philly, it feels now like SF, SD and maybe even the dreaded mystery team r bigger threats to favored Phils.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 23, 2019
Although the Giants are one of the last remaining teams in the mix, NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported Friday that San Francisco doesn't "intend to do dollar-to-dollar" with Philadelphia.
Yet, that doesn't mean this all comes as a surprise to the Giants. They already saw the Phillies as the favorites to land Harper.
If Middleton's presence in Las Vegas leads to something larger, the Giants might not have to wait for Harper's official decision all that much longer.