Bryce Harper reportedly received and rejected 'aggressive' offer from Nationals in September

Bryce Harper reportedly received and rejected 'aggressive' offer from Nationals in September

Harper's agent, Scott Boras, has a history of extending contract talks with his free agent players beyond the holiday season.

Harper will test the market in search of a more lucrative contract this winter along with other notable free agents, such as infielder Manny Machado. They can not wait for Harper to make his decision - which many in the industry believe will come no sooner than the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas next month - and miss out on the market.

Harper has played for the Washington Nationals since 2012, but many expect him to look elsewhere in free agency.

One team USA Today reported would be in the mix with the Phillies is the Los Angeles Dodgers. It could be that the Phillies end up competing with only the Nationals, who have already made one massive offer that was shut down.

If Harper signs elsewhere, the Nationals outfield next season will consist of Juan Soto in left field, Victor Robles in centre and Adam Eaton in right field with former Gold Glove finalist Michael A. Taylor as a backup in centre. It will cost them roughly $US13 million.

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"I'm comfortable with the alternative (to Harper re-signing)", Rizzo added. "I think we have a good strategy in place, a good plan in place, and we have started to begin that process and we will see where it takes us".

The 2015 National League MVP, Harper hit.249 last season with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs as the Nationals missed the playoffs.

Zack Greinke ($US34 million), David Price ($US31 million) and Clayton Kershaw ($US31 million) all got more. That would give Harper a higher total and a higher yearly average than Stanton's deal.

The Nats' most recent bid was not, in Boras' mind, their final attempt to retain his client.

The Nationals were willing to make a strong commitment.

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