But if they do, it nearly certainly won't be that deal, and Washington's general manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo acknowledged on Tuesday that his team can not afford to wait around for the right-fielder to make his decision.
The 2019 Major League Baseball free agency class has always been looked at one of the more anticipated, with Bryce Harper among the headliners.More news: Jeff Sessions resigns as attorney general at Trump's request
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.
This is the player they want. 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?" Harper and Boras reportedly had expected bidding to start at 10 years for $350 million.More news: Ariana Grande Slips During 'thank u, next' Performance On Ellen
If the Phillies decided to make an offer that topped Stanton, they could top the Nationals' offer and top Stanton's contract by offering a deal worth $330 million over 10 years. It could be that the Phillies end up competing with only the Nationals, who have already made one massive offer that was shut down.
Don't dismiss this news as Harper out-and-out rejecting the Nationals. It will cost them roughly $13 million.More news: Porsche 911 Completes Final Endurance Testing
"I'm comfortable with the alternative [to signing Harper]", Rizzo said. "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". The Nationals wanted to lock up their star, but Harper felt $30 million per year for the next decade wasn't enough money. That would give Harper a higher total and a higher yearly average than Stanton's deal. His clients include Nationals pitchers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and former Nats outfielder Jayson Werth. It was not enough.