Bryce Harper rejected a 10-year, $300 million contract offer by the Nationals in late September, reports The Washington Post's Chelsea Janes.
The deal, which had no opt-outs, was offered on Sept. 26, the same day as Washington's final home game. USA Today reports that the offer officially expired last week when the Nationals lost their exclusivity on negotiating rights.
Washington's offer would have been the biggest free agent deal by total money paid in the history of the four major American sports leagues, but it is still expected to be less than the $400 million that some have speculated that Harper's agent, Scott Boras, will ask for.
No position player has ever received a deal worth more than $27.5 million average annual value.
Harper did not accept the initial offer, and the two parties could not reach a deal while the former MVP was still under contract with the Nationals, which meant Washington held exclusive negotiating rights with Harper until he hit the open market.
While initial negotiations were unsuccessful, a reunion has not been ruled out. The 26-year-old superstar can field offers from other teams before deciding where he wants to play next season. Given Harper's history with Washington, it is likely Boras will at least circle back with the Nationals before finalizing a free agent deal for Harper with another team.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo addressed the Harper situation Tuesday and acknowledged that the team has a talented options in the outfield without Harper if he were to sign elsewhere. National League Rookie of the Year candidate Juan Soto, Adam Eaton and Victor Robles could start on Opening Day for Washington.
“I’m comfortable with the alternative [to Harper re-signing],” Rizzo said. “But I’m uncomfortable with the statement that we’re a better team without him.”
Here are some of the latest rumors regarding Harper:
• The St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago White Sox are all reportedly interested in pursuring Harper. The Phillies and White Sox are also rumored to be interested in pursuing Harper's fellow free agent, Manny Machado. Both teams have the payroll capacity to add both future franchise faces.
• Contrary to earlier rumors, the New York Yankeees are reported to be staying away from the free-agent slugger "for sure," and have "never seemed infatuated" with the longtime Washington starter, per Joel Sherman of the NY Post. Boras is still hoping to field an offer from the Bronx Bombers, floating the notion Tuesday that Harper has the "feet, hands and skill to certainly adapt to first base," which is where the Yankees situation is more uncertain than their stacked outfield.
• The Nationals do not appear eager to engage in a bidding war for Harper, although they are reportedly still hopeful that an agreement can eventually be reached. "He's our guy," Rizzo added at the General Managers meetings Tuesday. "So we're looking forward to seeing what can transpire."