Bryce Harper signs with the Phillies. You can rely on it.

Bryce Harper signs with the Phillies. You can rely on it.

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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Bob Nightengale of Sports is present at the MLB GM Meetings and the consensus is that Bryce Harper will sign with the Phillies.
USA TODAY

CARLSBAD, California. – It was the Bryce Harper show on Wednesday, or as an agent, Boror cunningly called it "Harper's Bazaar."

It has nothing to do with the fashion industry, and all with a man who will soon become the richest player in baseball history, unless free agent Manny Machado crashes him.

"It's fashionable," Boras said. "It's historical. It is an elite. Certainly global. It has inspirations that deal with great shoes and great hair, by Bryce.

The free agent outfielder, who is said to be more popular than the Liberty Bell, seems to be going to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.

It seemed all the time that Harper would stay in Washington, where he spent his entire career. But that was before the word leaked on Tuesday In September, he flatly refused a 10-year contract worth $ 300 million.

You can also eliminate the rest of the applicants.

The Chicago Cubs do not want to spend the money unless somebody takes Jason Heyward or Yu Darvish out of their hands.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are not interested.

The St. Louis Cardinals do not have bright lights.

The San Francisco Giants are changing their course.

There is only one team left for Harper, with at least $ 400 million available to him.

The Phillies are the most desperate team to land a star. Machado wanted to join the New York Yankees and the Yankees who need him the most, Philadelphia are the logical target for Harper.

He will face the Phillies in the right field at Citizens Bank Park on March 28 as they open the season against defending NL East champions Atlanta Braves.

Bank on it.

It's hard to find a senior executive, scout, or rival agent who does not think Harper will eventually sign up at the Phillies, maybe in a month when he drives from his Las Vegas home to Mandalay Bay and the official one Announcement can do.

The Nationals seemed to be the favorite until two baseball representatives told USA TODAY Sports that the offer was rejected on 26 September. The offer would have made Harper the highest paid active player in the baseball sector, after Giancarlo Stanton had signed a contract for $ 325 million 13 years ago, when he was four years ago as Miami Marlin under contract.

Now the Nationals say the offer is off the table. They did their best, and when there was not a single counter offer, the Nationals were ready to go.

Yes, even if it means seeing Harper 19 times a year when they play Philadelphia.

MORE MLB:

On road? Could Harper play the first base for N. Y. Yankees?

Free agent predictions: Where will Harper, Manny Machado end?

The talks can of course still be continued, but the relatives try to sign at least one starter and a catcher in the free agency. They do not want to have any gaps when Harper leaves.

However, they make it clear that they have no intention of giving Harper his preferred 13-year deal – let alone an average annual salary of $ 40 million a year.

"He's going to take care of his business," said National's General Manager Mike Rizzo, "and we'll take care of our cause, that's all. & # 39; & # 39;

There are no hard feelings and certainly no evil will.

Apart from a sudden change of heart, they will play with an outside field of Juan Soto, Adam Eaton and Victor Robles and use this extra money to strengthen the rest of their team.

Harper and Boras will certainly feel well, too.

This is a player, Boras told nearly 100 reporters on Wednesday, who alone can turn a franchise. Boras informed everyone about the 600,000-plus annual increase in visitor numbers since Harper's arrival, tripling its TV prices, and franchising $ 480 million to $ 2 billion.

So who would not want the Cash Cow, said Boras, the only player who has produced a 1,100 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) since his arrival in 2010? And the only player since Hall of Famer George Brett who has done the trick since the 1980s when you devalue the steroid era?

"They have a legendary player," Boras said. "For an owner to know that the rocket ship is just beginning to economic opportunities, because the player is just in the prime of his career. They really talk about a unique and rare opportunity. …

"He's almost a barrier to being a Hall of Famer player."

Boras knows someone will pay the price he seeks, and while no one can fully count the Cardinals or even the Giants who were willing to take over most of Stanton's contract a year ago, the Phillies will be the ones who Pay for it the biggest contract in baseball history for its services.

This is the splash that Phillies wants for a team that ranks only 21st in the runs scored, 24th in OPS and last in virtually every defensive metric.

And they have the money. Only Scott Kingery and Odubel Herrera are signed after the 2020 season.

"Several years ago, the Phillies had some of the highest payrolls in the game," said Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak, "and during the remodeling we were pretty disciplined about the contracts we signed to maintain our finances on the road ,

"Now that our team is getting better, we are much more open to exploring more expensive commitments."

The Phillies are not flashing.

This is the player they want.

This is the player they will get.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter @BNightengale

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