Superstar outfielder Bryce Harper became a free agent last weekend, but not before turning down an "aggressive offer" from the Nationals, the Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing multiple people familiar with the negotiations.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo confirmed Tuesday that the team had contract talks with Harper before the end of the season.
"We've had conversations, and we utilized our exclusivity to negotiate with him late in the season through when he became eligible to sign with a team,'' Rizzo told reporters in Carlsbad at the GM meetings in Carlsbad. "We didn't get anything done, but he's a guy that is near and dear to us, and we are not closing any doors.''
The offer was worth less than $400 million and did not contain any opt-outs, one source told the Post. Fancred's Jon Heyman reported the Nationals made the offer on Sept. 26, the day of the team's home finale.
Harper, a six-time All-Star and the 2015 NL MVP, is expected to be the most-sought-after free agent this winter. He has spent the entirety of his seven-year career in Washington.
The oddsmakers at Bovada gave the Giants the fourth-best odds (15/2) to sign the 26-year-old, behind the Philadelphia Phillies (1/1), the Chicago Cubs (3/1) and the Nationals (4/1). The Giants have a new man in charge of baseball operations in former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi, who will be introduced to Bay Area media Wednesday.
At that point, we'll have a much better idea if he's willing to go farther than the Nationals to sign Harper.