X

Bryce Harper Rumors: Phillies to Hold Face-to-Face Meeting with Star Outfielder

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals runs in from the outfield during the game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on September 23, 2018 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
G Fiume/Getty Images

A contingent from the Philadelphia Phillies will fly to Las Vegas on Saturday to meet with free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Phillies owner John Middleton will be among those making the trip.

This will be the first in-person meeting between Harper and Philadelphia. General manager Matt Klentak met with Harper's agent, Scott Boras, at the winter meetings but didn't speak directly with the six-time All-Star.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury reported Wednesday that the Phillies had hoped to organize a meeting with Harper. Salisbury added that free-agent shortstop Manny Machado "remains the Phillies' primary focus" but that the team was going to explore all of its options.

Many expected Philadelphia to be aggressive this offseason, and that has proved true. The Phillies acquired Jean Segura and Juan Nicasio from the Seattle Mariners and committed $73 million total to sign Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson.

The fact that Harper would take a meeting with the Phillies shows they're at least still in the hunt.

NBC Los Angeles' Michael Duarte reported the Washington Nationals have emerged as the favorites to sign Harper, with the Phillies trailing closely behind. According to The Athletic's Jim Bowden, the Nationals put a deal on the table that was "much more than" the 10-year, $300 million deal the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes reported on in November.

Nightengale reported the Phillies will be the third team—aside from the Nationals—to receive a meeting with Harper. He also met with personnel from the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.