We all know that the Phillies are in on free agent outfielder Bryce Harper.   And they plan to spend money.   But trying to figure out the market for Harper has been difficult.  But on a day when the Washington Nationals introduced free agent starting pitcher Patrick Corbin, a new public approach has been taken from Nationals ownership on Harper.

On 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C., Nationals owner Mark Lerner appeared on the "Grant and Danny Show" with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Friday afternoon.  The message was that the Nationals made an offer to Harper, but they will not be getting another one.

On 106.7 The Fan's website, Chris Lingebach transcribed the key moments of the interview:

"Well, when we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, 'This is the best we can do.' We went right to the finish line very quickly,' Lerner said. "And we said, 'If this is of interest to you, please come back to us and we'll see whether we can finish it up.' But we just couldn't afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that."

That would seem to mean that maybe the Nationals would be out of the Harper sweepstakes.


That number is, as Janes noted, the largest contract in professional sports history.

Lerner may have revealed too much about where he expected things to go when he noted that Harper "was" a great teammate, speaking in the past-tense. And he said as much:

"I really don't expect him to come back at this point. I think they've decided to move on. There's just too much money out there that he'd be leaving on the table. That's just not Mr. Boras' MO to leave money on the table."

If that is the case: the Phillies can beat that. The Phillies have "stupid money" to spend, according to owner John MIddleton, and that phrase appears in pretty much every national article about the Phillies.  The Phillies are expected to meet with Harper at or near the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, which begin on Monday.