Rizzo: Nats made offer to Bryce Harper late in season

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Harper headlines one of the most valuable free-agent classes in Major League Baseball history, which also includes infielder Manny Machado, closer Craig Kimbrel and former Cy Young Award victor Dallas Keuchel. It will give them one of the best and more productive players in the game. That offer included no opt-outs, and was less than the $400 million some have speculated Harper could receive, according to a person with direct knowledge who would not disclose the exact terms.

One team USA Today reported would be in the mix with the Phillies is the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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 backup in centre. For those of you without a math degree, $35 million per year over a 13-year period would be $455 million.

"I'm comfortable with the alternative [to signing Harper]", Rizzo said.

The good news for the Phillies is that they might be bidding against only a few teams, and perhaps none as attractive as the Phillies.

Whether the Nationals will be without Harper remains to be seen. It turns out that he rejected a contract offer from the team that very day.

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Given Harper's history with the Nationals, he seems unlikely to make a deal elsewhere without first circling back. 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.

Harper was publicly reminiscent and nostalgic on September 26, the Nationals' final home game of the season and reportedly the day he received the team's new offer.

Zack Greinke ($US34 million), David Price ($US31 million) and Clayton Kershaw ($US31 million) all got more.

The Nats' most recent bid was not, in Boras' mind, their final attempt to retain his client. But no position player has ever earned an average annual value of more than $27.5 million (Alex Rodriguez and Yoenis Cespedes).

The Nationals were willing to make a strong commitment.

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