Bryce Harper remained unsigned as spring training got underway this week, but one team appears to be pulling ahead in the sweepstakes.
CBS Sports' Jim Bowden reported Saturday he's hearing "there's a lot of momentum and traction" between Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies:
CBS Sports HQ @CBSSportsHQ
"I keep hearing there's a lot of momentum and traction here on [Bryce Harper] going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. He could be rounding third and heading home shortly." -@JimBowdenGM says Bryce Harper could be making his announcement very soon. https://t.co/WxIFU275Zr
Bowden notes he believes the prized free agent will receive at least a 10-year deal worth $300 million-plus. Both the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly offered short-term deals.
Bowden noted last month that the Washington Nationals have offered Harper a contract worth "much more than the $300 million being reported by the media." Meanwhile, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported in late January that the San Diego Padres also met with the 2015 National League MVP.
Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 home runs, 34 doubles and 100 RBI last season last year. His 2018 campaign was highlighted by a Home Run Derby title in front of his hometown crowd:
That helped propel him to a strong finish, as he hit .300 after the All-Star break.
The Phillies have gotten a good look at Harper while playing against him in the NL East. The six-time All-Star has hit .268/.365/.564 with 14 home runs, five doubles, three triples and 32 RBI in 50 career games at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia has been linked to Harper throughout the offseason, especially after owner John Middleton said his club would be aggressive.
"We're going into this expecting to spend money," Middleton told USA Today's Bob Nightengale in November. "And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it. We just prefer not to be completely stupid."
So far this offseason, Philadelphia has acquired 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen (three years, $50 million), All-Star reliever David Robertson (two years, $23 million), two-time All-Star shortstop Jean Segura (trade) and All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto (trade).