Bryce Harper turned down 10-year, $300 million offer from Nationals

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Whichever team Harper decides to sign with, he'll probably want to spend the next decade-plus living in that team's city without worrying about suddenly being shipped to another team in another town. By offering the qualifying offer, the Nationals can at least receive a draft pick if Harper signs elsewhere.

"He's a guy that is near and dear to us and we are not closing any doors", Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday in discussing Harper, a six-time All-Star and the 2015 National League Most Valuable Player. Wait a minute. Didn't Boras claim during the World Series that Harper already made up his mind where he wanted to play and had a deal hammered out?

"I'm comfortable with the alternative (to Harper returning)", Rizzo said. Harper hit 22 home runs as a rookie in the 2012 season when he was only 19 years old, and he'll be 26 years old for the entirety of the 2019 regular season. But if they do, it nearly certainly won't be that deal, and Washington's general manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo acknowledged on Tuesday that his team can not afford to wait around for the right-fielder to make his decision. However, the team is still open to a different deal. With just over a month until the MLB Winter Meetings, it doesn't appear that a decision from Harper (or any major free-agent) is imminent.

According to a report from ESPN's Buster Olney, Harper won't be joining the Bronx Bombers. It will cost them roughly $13 million.

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Whether the Nationals will be without Harper remains to be seen.

It just goes to show how much smoke and how many mirrors are involved in a high profile free agent campaign. Zack Greinke ($34 million), David Price ($31 million) and Clayton Kershaw ($31 million) all got more. Max Scherzer got exactly $US30 million.

The Nationals were willing to make a strong commitment.