Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper won’t sign with the New York Yankees in free agency, a “well-placed source” told ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Harper led all hitters in walks a season ago, cracking 34 home runs to go with 100 RBI and 103 runs scored. The six-time All-Star claimed MVP honors in 2015, when he led the National League in homers (42) and runs (118), and led all of baseball in on-base percentage (.460) and slugging (.649).
He’s expected to sign the richest free-agent contract of the offseason.
Nationals Offer to Bryce Harper off the Table
Earlier on Wednesday, multiple reports revealed the Nationals had tried to ink the star outfielder to a 10-year, $300 million contract late in the 2018 season.
“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 on Tuesday at the general managers meetings, according to ESPN. “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. … He’s shown the type of player he is, and now he’s a grizzled veteran. He has done a lot in the game already, and he is just scratching the surface.”
The offer is now reportedly off the table, though the Nationals still hope to negotiate a deal with Scott Boras, Harper’s agent.
“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, per ESPN. “There is a reality that we would love to sign him, but we may not. We have to have a strategy and plan put together to win baseball games, not only for 2019 but beyond. 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.”