sports 4 days ago

Report: Bryce Harper rejected 'historic' offer from Nationals to test market

St. Louis Post-Dispatch — By Jeff Gordon St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Nov. 07-- Nobody expected Bryce Harper to give the Washington Nationals a "hometown discount" to stay put and eschew free agency.

But the Washington Post reports that Harper turned down epic money to explore the market. The offer was for less than $400 million and included an opt-out clause.

Those with knowledge of the offer called it "aggressive" and "historic." The offer was the culmination of lengthy talks with Harper's agent, Scott Boras, back in September.

"We've had conversations and we utilized our exclusivity to negotiate with him late in the season through when he became eligible to sign with a team," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said at the general managers meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. "We didn't get anything done, but he's a guy that is near and dear to us and we are not closing any doors."

So the Nationals remain one of the bidders for Harper, who seemed to enjoy playing in Washington.

"He's shown the type of player he is and now he's a grizzled veteran," Rizzo said. "He has done a lot in the game already, and he is just scratching the surface."

But by rejecting the huge offer from the Nationals, Harper and Boras signaled they are going to absolutely top dollar. Are the Cardinals really prepared to make an offer that is "aggressive" and "historic" to Harper?

The bidding could drag on for some time, so at some point the Nationals could drop out of the hunt.

"It behooves us to have an expiration date," Rizzo said. "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. There is a reality that we would love to sign him, but we may not."

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