First, the Nationals - often described as somewhere between maddeningly selective in their spending and unnecessarily frugal - were willing to give one of their players a record-setting deal. With each 26 years old, they are both expected to sign two of the most lucrative contracts in Major League Baseball history. Harper and Boras reportedly had expected bidding to start at 10 years for $350 million.
"It behooves us to have an expiration date", Rizzo told reporters Tuesday, an indication the Nationals are prepared to move on in their plans without Harper because, as one person familiar with the situation said, they "can't have $300 million dangling out there for months".
Don't dismiss this news as Harper out-and-out rejecting the Nationals.
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"It's going to be a challenge to put the best product on the field, and that could include Harper and it could be doing things without 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. It turns out that he rejected a contract offer from the team that very day. The Nationals made him a qualifying offer last Friday. Harper will soon finally be available to sign with other teams after years of speculation about the Washington Nationals star's future.
Boras did not counter, but word is the Nationals would go higher for a reasonable offer - though how much higher remains to be seen.
Harper, per USA Today, also wants a 13-year deal. That means more than the $325 million that Stanton got, and likely considerably more. It was not enough.