Bryce Harper Rumors: Phillies 'Confident' They'll Sign Free-Agent Superstar

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2019

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 30:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals runs out a ninth inning double against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 30, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Nearing the end of the first full week of spring training, there may be a light at the end of the free-agent tunnel for Bryce Harper

Per Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Phillies have grown "confident" they will sign Harper as the two sides have ramped up their negotiations in recent days. 

Breen noted Philadelphia began the offseason "with the expectation" of signing either Harper or Manny Machado. 

The Machado sweepstakes ended Tuesday when the All-Star shortstop agreed to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres, per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Appearing on CBS Sports HQ (h/t CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin), The Athletic's Jim Bowden reported Harper's eventual deal will exceed Machado's deal as well as the $325 million deal the Miami Marlins gave Giancarlo Stanton in November 2014. 

The San Francisco Giants have been linked to Harper recently, but USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported their offer will be a "lucrative short-term deal" instead of the potentially long-term contract he could receive elsewhere. 

The Phillies are competing with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals atop the National League East. Signing Harper would not only make them better, it would also take him away from the Nationals.

Harper, 26, has hit .279/.388/.512 with 184 homers in seven MLB seasons. He's been named to the NL All-Star team six times and won the 2015 NL MVP award. 

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