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10 November 2018, 01:41 | Anna Jefferson
Bryce Harper AP
Harper was publicly reminiscent and nostalgic on September 26, the Nationals' final home game of the season and reportedly the day he received the team's new offer. The deal would have been the second-richest in Major League Baseball history, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins signed in 2014, and the third-richest in sports history.
However, it is becoming more and more clear that the Yankees intend to pass on Harper.
Boras tabbed Harper as a "generational" and "iconic" player - citing the Nationals' stark increase in attendance, television ratings and overall franchise value since Harper joined the team.
It gained even more traction earlier this week when Harper's agent, Scott Boras, toldMLB Network Radio that the 26-year-old right fielder would be a more-than-capable first baseman.
While Harper could be exploring other options, it's still possible he might return to the Nationals. But if they do, it nearly certainly won't be that deal, and Mike Rizzo acknowledged Tuesday his team can not afford to wait around. It will cost them roughly $US13 million.
"I'm comfortable with the alternative (to signing Harper)", Rizzo said Tuesday. "But I'm uncomfortable with the statement that we're a better team without him".
Whether the Nationals will be without Harper remains to be seen. That Nationals offer may be off the table in its current form, but Boras rarely lets a high-spending team drop out of the race for a high-priced client. No deal is official and no announcement has been made. It turns out that he rejected a contract offer from the team that very day. But no position player has ever earned an average annual value of more than $US27.5 million (Alex Rodriguez and Yoenis Cespedes). Nightengale says that Harper is seeking a 13-year deal that tops the average annual value of $34.42 million that Zack Greinke now has in his deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Nationals were willing to make a strong commitment.
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