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MLB insider: Phillies among front-runners to sign Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper could very well be the most sought after free agent in Major League Baseball history when he becomes available after the 2018 season. While a bidding war of unprecedented proportions is expected, one MLB insider already believes one dark horse team could very well already be among the leaders to secure Harper’s services.

ESPN MLB insider Buster Olney stated during a recent “Baseball Tonight” podcast there that the Philadelphia Phillies should be considered among the front-runners to sign Harper this coming offseason … with one very important caveat.

“I would bet the family farm that Bryce Harper winds up with the Phillies or back with the Washington Nationals,” Olney said.

The notion that Harper heads to Philly as opposed to teams such as the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs — where rumors already suggest the Washington Nationals slugger could be headed — may seem somewhat unlikely at first.

However, it merits noting that the Phillies are making considerable inroads to developing into a legitimate contender. Further, the Phillies have the payroll flexibility to offer Harper a $400 million deal or whatever amount the slugger demands.

Not only that, Scott Boras, super agent extraordinaire who represents Harper, had this to say about the Phillies after client Jake Arrieta signed with the team.

“When you have players like Jake on the team, you’ve now crossed the bridge,” Boras said. “It’s hot coffee and ready to drink.”

The Nationals of course could make the matter academic by locking up Harper ahead of free agency. However, all indications point to Harper testing the market, although that does not mean he could not remain in D.C. in the end.

All that aside, expect rumors and speculation to run rampant this season concerning Harper’s future. And if there’s one certain thing in it all, it’s this: Don’t even bother asking Harper about it.