The Phillies absolutely want Harper. But does he want them? It's time for a final answer.
As Harper's new deal approaches the finish line, the intrigue only begins for the free agent and his primary suitor. Who else in baseball will be feeling the heat this season?
Harper is seeking a long-term deal and, despite being unsigned just over a month before the start of the season, has given no indication that he is willing to change that demand, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Harper met with the Philadelphia Phillies this past weekend in his hometown of Las Vegas, and the Phillies remain confident they are going to sign the former National League MVP, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney.
The sides are nearing a crossroads in their negotiations, sources told Olney, after Phillies managing general partner John Middleton departed from Las Vegas on Saturday.
The Dodgers' emergence potentially has thrown a wrench into the negotiations, although their interest would be limited to a short-term deal while the Phillies are prepared to sign Harper to a long-term contract.
MLB.com first reported the Dodgers' re-engagement early Monday morning. Multiple Dodgers officials, including manager Dave Roberts, were seen in Las Vegas on Sunday, a source told ESPN, confirming a report by MLB.com.
The Dodgers initially reached out to Harper's camp two weeks ago seeking a short-term deal, sources told Passan and ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.
Other teams known to have met with Harper this winter include the San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals, with whom Harper spent the first seven seasons of his career.
Harper, 26, is looking for a deal in excess of the 10-year, $300 million contract the Nationals reportedly offered him at the end of the regular season. He batted only .249 in 2018 but had 34 home runs and 100 RBIs and came on strong after the All-Star break.