The Washington Nationals aren't the only team reportedly willing to invest the next decade in Bryce Harper.
According to a new report from ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox are also willing to give Harper the 10-year guaranteed deal he's reportedly looking for.
Harper has met multiple times with representatives of the Washington Nationals, according to a club source, and the possibility of a return to the place he spent the first seven years of his career persists, despite Nationals owner Mark Lerner's insistence that Washington would not stretch beyond the $300 million offer Harper rejected near season's end. The Phillies and White Sox are the other two teams known to be willing to guarantee Harper the decade-plus-long deal he and Machado, each 26 years old, are seeking. Harper's willingness to wait for a contract he deems suitable is real, according to a source who said he could see Harper's free agency stretching into February.
Both teams are not surprising given their current payrolls for the 2019 season and their need for a new face of their franchise. Following this news it is also reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury that the Phillies will meet with Harper soon.
However, neither team are the first to be willing to that long-term commitment. The Nats reportedly offered Harper a 10-year contract worth $300 million at the end of the 2018 season.
This news does not mean much in the grand scheme of the Harper sweepstakes. After all, for any team to get Harper they were going to have to commit to at least a decade-long agreement.
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Nationals outfielder Gerardo Parra has signed with Japan's Yomiuri Giants, ending his short-lived yet sensational career in Washington, MLB Trade Rumors reported early Wednesday.
Parra, known for his allegiance to "Baby Shark" became the catalyst for good mojo in the Nats' clubhouse. "Baby Shark" became the unofficial anthem of the Nationals' first-ever World Series championship thanks to Parra declaring it his walkup song in June to please his two-year-old daughter. "Baby Shark" quickly took hold and transformed D.C. into a shark frenzy.
"What he's done in that clubhouse has really changed the way these guys go about their business. I mean, it was business. There wasn't a whole lot of -- he made it fun for this team," Nationals manager Davey Martinez said to NBC Sports Washington in October.
"Those guys up there, every one of his teammates love him, love him. All the fans love him. He's just that guy. He's the Parra Shark."
Parra also spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants before being picked up by the Nats in early May.
Farewell, Parra Shark.
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The last time Nationals fans saw Stephen Strasburg, he was standing on a stage in Washington D.C. being forced into a group hug by several teammates.
Now a free agent after opting out of the remaining four years of the extension he signed in 2016, Strasburg has put himself in a position to sign with any team he pleases ahead of next season.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s headed out of the District. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported Monday that he thinks Strasburg could ink a deal with Washington before the Winter Meetings begin Dec. 8.
This would be a far cry from the trend demonstrated over the last two offseasons, when the biggest names waited until Spring Training to sign mega-deals—some even waiting well into the season.
"A lot of teams want Cole. A lot of teams want Rendon. I think these two guys may move faster because they're not going to have to manufacture markets for them,” Feinsand said on MLB Network. “These guys are in demand. It's going to be a matter of who's willing to give them the most money, but I don't think these two players are going to be the ones who are going into deep February [unsigned]."
The Nationals certainly have the payroll flexibility to sign such a deal after Strasburg, Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman’s significant salaries all came off the books. Signing Strasburg early would also suit Washington well, giving it the chance to modify its approach to addressing other needs accordingly while most of the other free agents are still on the market.
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