At least one MLB general manager believes Washington Nationals superstar outfielder Bryce Harper will leave the organization as a free agent this offseason to sign with the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies.
On Thursday, Jon Heyman of Fancred reported the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants are among the other clubs linked to Harper, but the unnamed executive is predicting he'll land in Philly.
"I think Harper winds up with the Phillies," the GM told Heyman.
The 25-year-old Las Vegas native, who struggled in the months leading up to the All-Star Game, has come alive since the Midsummer Classic. He's posted a .352/.448/.682 triple-slash line with seven home runs in 88 at-bats after winning the Home Run Derby.
His track record includes an NL MVP Award for the 2015 season and six All-Star selections, which will make him a coveted commodity this winter.
Although Harper hasn't discussed his potential suitors, the slugger acknowledged last month that he could leave the Nats.
"It's always a possibility. Everyone knew that at the beginning of the year—this could possibly be my last year in D.C," he told reporters. "There's no elephant in the room. Everybody knows that's a possibility."
Choosing to leave Washington to join Philadelphia, a club the Nationals will likely be battling atop the NL East for the foreseeable future, would be a bold move, not to mention make him public enemy No. 1 among baseball fans in the nation's capital.
The Phillies have turned the corner in their rebuilding efforts on the strength of their pitching staff. Their lineup still needs work, however, as evidenced by ranking 20th in runs scored this season.
Harper would provide a major boost should he choose Philly before the 2019 campaign.