The Nationals reportedly made a 10-year, $300 million offer to Bryce Harper that included $100 million in deferred money, The Washington Post reports.
The contract would have paid Harper until he was 60, Barry Svrluga of the Post reports. The high amount of deferred money reportedly drew concern from Major League Baseball.
Harper instead decided to join the Phillies, the Nationals' NL East rivals, for a reported 13 years and $330 million. The deal includes no deferred money and is the largest MLB contract by overall dollars in history, surpassing the $325 million deal for Giancarlo Stanton.
The Nationals ultimately fell behind the Phillies, Giants, and Dodgers as potential suitors.
The Nationals and the Lerner family frequently offer contracts with deferred money. Their deal with starter Max Scherzer is due to pay the ace until he turns 44, while Stephen Strasburg's contract also includes deferred money. The team's ownership has explained its reasoning by arguing the MASN contract fees dispute with the Orioles have prevented the team from "bring[ing] full economic confidence to investments in multi-year player contracts," according to a Washington Post report in March 2017.
Washington selected Harper with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 MLB Draft and brought him to the majors in 2012. With the 26-year-old outfielder headed to the Phillies, the Nationals will still see plenty of Harper in the future.