Mike Rizzo discussed the team's talks with agent Scott Boras at the general managers' meetings on Tuesday.
Signs are starting to point to the Phillies landing one of the biggest free agents in Major League Baseball history, Bryce Harper. But no position player has ever earned an average annual value of more than $US27.5 million (Alex Rodriguez and Yoenis Cespedes). For years now, Boras has been selling Harper as a talent so rare he could command more than $400 million, and when presented with that number this week, he joked, "Why be so limiting?" What was especially impressive about the deal was that it reportedly didn't include any ability to opt-out from the Nationals - meaning Harper would get the full $300 million. 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.
In the meantime, Harper will continue to field offers from other teams in hopes of landing a record-setting deal. It could be that the Phillies end up competing with only the Nationals, who have already made one massive offer that was shut down. "I think we have a good strategy in place, a good plan in place, and we have started to begin that process and we will see where it takes us".
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The Nationals' rejected offer came in late September, before Harper could officially declare for free agency. Even though Harper is still only 26, a 14-year deal with an average annual value of $30 million per season felt a bit excessive. Zack Greinke ($34 million), David Price ($31 million) and Clayton Kershaw ($31 million) all got more.
The Nats' most recent bid was not, in Boras' mind, their final attempt to retain his client. It was not enough.