After a seven-season tenure with the Nationals that included a National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, an NL MVP Award in 2015 and six All-Star nods, Bryce Harper is now a free agent for the first time.
Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.
Are White Sox out on Harper?
Feb. 20: The White Sox coveted Manny Machado but missed out on landing him when he agreed to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres. The White Sox, however, also have been linked aplenty to Bryce Harper, the other superstar who remains readily available, so the expectation is that they could pivot and make a run at the slugging outfielder, right?
Maybe. Maybe not.
The White Sox "are out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes," according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
Nightengale adds that Chicago still is planning to adjust its roster, but the front office may do so not with a big-name free agent, but rather by targeting versatile veterans like Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison. Lefty starter Gio Gonzalez also could be a possibility, Nightengale suggests.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman checks in to say that "at least five teams are believed [to] still [be] in contact" with Harper, who "is believed to have turned down multiple offers over $300M in recent weeks." The Phillies, Giants and Nationals look like the leaders at this point, ahead of the Padres and White Sox, according to Heyman.
The Phillies have been thought of as the favorites to sign Harper for most of the offseason, although it's recently been reported that there's at least something of a question about how comfortable Harper is with the idea of going to Philadelphia. The Phillies also were in the mix for Machado, so missing out on him would appear to raise the stakes on their pursuit of Harper.
How Machado's record-breaking deal with Padres impacts Harper
Feb. 19: Manny Machado appears to have found a new team. The superstar infielder has agreed to a deal with the Padres, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand confirms the news, adding that the contract is for 10 years and $300 million -- a record for the biggest free-agent contract in the history of MLB and all American sports. Giancarlo Stanton's 13-year, $325 million deal with the Marlins back in 2014 is the only larger contract; that was an extension, not a free-agent pact.
Speculation had been picking up around Machado the past few days, with the Padres and White Sox considered the frontrunners. The Phillies also were in the mix, although their main focus may be on outfielder Bryce Harper, the other star free agent still available. With Machado headed to San Diego, expect Harper buzz to swell to a crescendo.
The Padres were reported to have been in on Harper, too, and while it's hard to imagine they would land both stars, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports they "aren't ruling [it] out."
Still, it is believed that the Phillies are positioned as the likely favorites for the star outfielder at this stage, although the Nationals, White Sox and Giants also cannot be counted out.
The question now becomes: How hard will the Phillies push to get a deal done with Harper, seeing as he's the biggest name on the open market and has been their primary target recently? Oh, and also: Is Harper's agent Scott Boras now going to ensure that his client scores an even bigger total salary than Machado, as MLB.com's Todd Zolecki suggests?
For what it's worth, Andy Martino of SNY is hearing that Harper actually might be "unsure about Philly" -- a factor that might be mitigated if the Phillies are willing to give him an outright record contract.
Otherwise, failing to bring in Harper could be a problem for the club, especially since its fan base has been expecting to land either Machado or Harper all winter after comments early in the offseason about how the ownership might be "a little bit stupid" in how it spends money.
Is finish line in sight for Harper, and will it be a record-breaking deal?
Feb. 19: Are the finish lines in the races to sign superstar free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in view? According to former MLB general manager Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, Harper could be putting pen to paper by Friday, and Machado may be well down that path as well.
"We're now getting multiple sources [that] are hearing the same thing," Bowden said, " ... that Harper is probably very close to a deal with the Phillies, and Machado is probably very close to a deal with the Padres."
Bowden did add the caveat, however, that there have been several past examples of players apparently close to deals with certain clubs, when "with a stealth airplane a GM or an owner will come in and blow things out at the last minute. Until it is signed and the language is all there, anything can happen."
Specifically, Bowden mentioned that in Harper's case, the Nationals, Yankees or White Sox could jump in at the last minute and up their offer for Harper even if all indications were that he'd sign with the Phillies.
Bowden also said he's hearing that Harper's deal will exceed the record 13-year, $325 million contract Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Marlins in 2014.
Earlier on Monday, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman tweeted that it could take a few more days to get to the finish line for Harper.
Heyman echoes Bowden, tweeting that the Phillies are believed to be the favorites. But he also notes the Giants, Padres and White Sox are also in the mix, and the Nationals might be as well. While Washington hasn't been at the forefront, the club could come in late, Heyman adds, though the rumor that the Nats are going to be given the chance to match any offer for Harper is untrue.
• Here are the ramifications if Harper signs with the Giants
Heyman described Harper discussions as "intensified" on Sunday and reported that the outfielder has "multiple long-term offers for more than $30 million a year" on the table. One of those offers is said to be from San Diego, with the club reportedly entering a bid over $250 million. The Padres also made a substantial offer to Machado, sources told MLB.com's AJ Cassavell.
The market for Harper appears to be more robust now than it has been at any point since he became a free agent in November, and Boras likely isn't in a rush to end the process without seeing if he can drum up a bidding war between the teams involved. It could also benefit Harper to wait and see if Machado accepts the Padres' offer, which is believed to be the largest on the table for the 26-year-old infielder. While signing Machado would take San Diego out of the running for Harper, it could in turn cause some of the other clubs that are in on Harper to get more aggressive.
Heyman: 'Intensified' Harper talks are 'heating up'
Feb. 17: There's been plenty of buzz around Bryce Harper over the past 48 hours or so. Could a resolution to the superstar slugger's free agency be coming soon?
"Things are heating up" for Harper, with the Phillies being seen as the favorite and the Padres making an offer higher than $250 million, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who describes the discussions as "intensified" but also cautions that "nothing is done yet." Heyman follows up to point out that Harper is talking to other suitors -- including perhaps the Nationals, Giants and White Sox -- and has "multiple long-term offers for more than $30 million a year" on the table. Sources told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that while the Phillies and Harper's agent Scott Boras have been talking recently and making progress, nothing is imminent. Meanwhile, Philly also remains in contact with Manny Machado.
This comes two days after a report started circulating and gaining some steam Friday afternoon that Harper just might be on the verge of finding a new home.
In a conversation with radio station 94WIP in Philadelphia about the star free agent's situation, Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan, a radio station in Washington, D.C., speculated Friday that Harper could be making up his mind very, very soon.
"Maybe I took a little bit of a leap of faith here based on some indications I got from a real good source," said Russell, who has heard that Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, as well as his wife have been meeting since Monday in his hometown of Las Vegas. "But I'm led to believe by the people that I've talked to that are close to the situation -- and I have, again, a real good source that has helped me through this process, let's just leave it at that -- that Bryce was in a mood to celebrate yesterday. Now, the source said, 'I believe it's done.'
"I don't have concrete, 100 percent proof for you guys," Russell continued. "I wish I did, otherwise I would have it and I would be running around with it. ... But that's what I was led to believe, that this thing is now decided."
To a certain extent, that meshes with information coming from former big league general manager Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ and The Athletic, who says the Phillies are viewed as the clear favorite for Harper, followed by the Nationals.
"I keep hearing there's a lot of momentum and traction here on [Harper] going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies," Bowden said. "He could be rounding third and heading home shortly."
Meanwhile, Harper commented on an Instagram post by Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins on Friday, which showed Hoskins walking with bat and glove at the Phillies' Spring Training complex in Clearwater, Fla. Harper's comment was "suhhhhh kiiiiiiid."
The speculation indeed continues to swirl around Harper. As it does, we'll keep you up to date on the latest. In the meantime, here's a look at the impact Harper would have if he joins the Phillies, according to MLB.com's Andrew Simon.
Here's how Harper could fit with Yankees
Feb. 15: The Yankees have made several additions this offseason to bolster their roster ahead of another run at reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009. The club has brought in the likes of James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu and brough back J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia and Zack Britton. But is that enough to overtake the powerhouse Red Sox?
While it may be, with superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still on the free-agent market, MLB.com's Mike Lupica asks: How much farther would the organization go financially to tilt the scales more sharply in its favor? Signing Harper or Machado certainly would do that, but neither will come cheap, and the Yankees already have a payroll in the $220 million range.
"Yankees fans want [owner Hal] Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman to finish the job this season," Lupica writes. "[If] it turns out that they haven't spent enough, and Machado or Harper might make all the difference, Yankees fans aren't going to want to hear about how fiscally responsible the team is being." More >
Here's a look at how Harper, in particular, could fit into the Yankees' roster and lineup, courtesy of MLB.com's Andrew Simon.
Video: Harper, Machado keep Yankees on their radar
Which teams have the best chance at landing Harper?
Feb. 13: Bryce Harper has been connected to several teams since the offseason began, but while a few clubs have emerged to be seen as frontrunners, which teams have the best chance to land the superstar free agent? MLB.com's Mark Feinsand ranked every potential landing spot for Harper based on the likelihood that the club signs him.
The "longshots" on Feinsand's list are the Cubs, Yankees, and Giants, with San Francisco being the most recent club to join the Harper Sweepstakes by meeting with him in Las Vegas last week. The next category up is "contenders," in which Feinsand places the Padres and White Sox. San Diego is also a recent entrant into the "Harper Bazaar" as his agent, Scott Boras, called it early in the offseason, and also sent a delegation to meet with Harper. The White Sox have shown serious interest this offseason in both Harper and fellow 26-year-old free agent Manny Machado, even though Chicago is currently in the middle of a rebuild with a lot of talent in the pipeline.
Finally, in the "favorites" category are the Phillies and Harper's former team, the Nationals. Philadelphia made it no secret at the start of the offseason that it intended to spend big. Washington reportedly offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million contract at the end of last season, which he declined, but it has been reported since then that the Nats increased their offer substantially and are definitely in the running.
"The Phillies have been the odds-on favorites to land Harper and/or Machado from the outset of the offseason, and many believe they will still ultimately sign one of them," writes Feinsand. "Last week's trade for J.T. Realmuto made the Phillies' roster even more attractive for a free agent, though some have wondered whether either Harper or Machado wants to play in Philly."
With respect to the Nationals, Feinsand writes that "the consensus is that Boras will give Nationals ownership a chance to exceed [or at least match] the biggest offer before Harper signs elsewhere." More >
Video: When will Harper and Machado sign new deals?
Is Harper open to a short-term deal?
Feb. 13: While it has been reported that the Giants are hoping to sign Bryce Harper to a shorter-term contract, the star slugger "is not signing -- or even considering -- short-term deals," according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
That is similar to what MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi is hearing. "According to what I was told by a source, Harper is not actively discussing a short-term deal right now with the Giants," Morosi says. "At this point in time, Harper's mindset is still the longer-term deal. I think if Harper was going to sign a short-term deal, if that was a preference of his, he would have done so by now."
ESPN's Buster Olney reports that there's even skepticism among some of the people involved in the discussions that the Giants would generate the type of offer that will sway the slugger to pick San Francisco.
Still, USA Today's Bob Nightengale thinks that the club is a strong place, telling San Francisco radio station KNBR that the Giants and Phillies look like the finalists to land the superstar outfielder.
"Right now, I really do think it's the Giants and the Phillies. It's a two-team race here," said Nightengale, who thinks San Francisco and Philadelphia are neck and neck. "With the Giants moving in and all the optimism, I do believe it's a coin flip," Nightengale said. "I think for the Phillies to get Harper, they're going to have to grossly outbid the Giants to get him. I really do. I think if it's close, he goes to San Francisco. If there's a huge gap, it's tough to walk away from that kind of money."
On the other hand, Nightengale believes the Nationals and Dodgers -- two of the other suitors most strongly linked to Harper this offseason -- are "definitely out of it."
The Giants did make a move to address their outfield Tuesday, bringing in Gerardo Parra on a Minor League deal. While Parra has a good chance to make the team, a source told Morosi that the Giants, who have a full 40-man roster, remain hopeful to sign Harper and didn't want to add another outfielder to their 40-man roster until Harper's situation is settled. Hence, the Minor League contract for Parra.
Video: MLB Tonight on Harper not looking for short-term deal
Could Giants add Harper and still go through rebuild?
Feb. 11: The Giants recently entered the race for Bryce Harper, sparking comparisons to the 1992-93 offseason, when San Francisco signed Barry Bonds after a 72-90 season.
With Bonds in the fold, the Giants won 103 games in 1993. Could Harper lead this San Francisco club to a similar turnaround and help the franchise get another few postseason runs from its aging core? Perhaps that's what new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and team president and CEO Larry Baer are hoping.
However, MLB Network insider Joel Sherman suggests that signing Harper could be a "middle-ground move" that keeps the club relevant while Zaidi reconstructs the roster.
"I wonder if the Giants are in this right now because they looked left and right and said, 'Well, Bryce Harper's still out there.'" Sherman said Monday on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" program. "'Should we at least put our toe in the water and see if we can do this at a level that we like? Because he's young enough to be part of our next good team, and he's star enough to keep our fans interested in the painful period that's likely to come over the next two to three years.'"
In Sherman's view, it would be surprising if the Giants stuck with the status quo, considering the hiring of Zaidi was the organization's way of breaking free from an old-fashioned thought process and ushering in a new era. But Harper could at least prevent the club from bottoming out and losing more fans and viewers in the interim.
"When you're in a market like San Francisco, where you're selling out every day, where TV ratings do matter, where you're in competition with the 49ers and the championship Warriors, you want to make sure you don't bleed out in the two- or three- or four-year period where they're [rebuilding]."
Video: Joel Sherman on the Giants' interest in Harper
Report: Giants prefer short-term deal for Harper
Feb. 10: The Giants have emerged as a serious contender for Bryce Harper in the past week, but USA Today's Bob Nightengale writes that the club has "no desire" to make Harper an offer approaching the 10-year, $300 million deal he reportedly rejected from the Nationals in September. Rather, San Francisco plans to make Harper a lucrative short-term offer.
Of course, as Nightengale notes, ownership was willing to take on $265 million of Giancarlo Stanton's contract last offseason if it acquired him from the Marlins, so it's possible the Giants will be open to investing that type of money in Harper as well.
Harper was a popular topic during the Giants' annual FanFest at Oracle Park on Saturday. The club's CEO, Larry Baer, declined to make any predictions about where Harper will land, but did say the meeting Giants executives had with him earlier this week in Las Vegas went well and lasted four hours, longer than either side expected. Baer also said the Giants are "giving it a shot."
Video: Giants CEO Baer discusses interest in Harper
According to NBC Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, Harper spoke of his admiration of catcher Buster Posey during the meeting, and "there has been an increased sense among some in the clubhouse that Harper prefers the Giants."
On Sunday, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr chimed in during a press conference, saying, "Bryce, come to San Francisco. Let's go."
The Giants, along with the Dodgers and Padres, are among the clubs closest to Harper's home in Las Vegas. A move to sign Harper wouldn't be unprecedented for the franchise; San Francisco plucked a 28-year-old Barry Bonds off the market in late 1992 with a six-year, $44 million contract that was, at that time, the largest in baseball history. The following season, the club won 103 games.
"There is obviously mutual interest on both sides," Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Friday. "We thought it made sense to get together. We had a good conversation over a few hours. He's obviously got a lot of suitors and a lot of interest. He's going to have some decisions to make. I think it's fair to say that was an expression of our interest level, to make the trip out there to meet with him. You don't make a trip out there to meet with a player just for show."
Zaidi, though, wouldn't go as far as saying whether the team has made a formal offer to Harper.
Video: MLB Tonight on Harper's meeting with the Giants