So where does that leave Harper and the Nationals now?
The sides could still strike a deal later in the off-season. With each 26 years old, they are both expected to sign two of the most lucrative contracts in Major League Baseball history.
According to multiple people familiar with the negotiations, the Nationals discussed terms for a new deal with Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, throughout September.
Indeed, the Nationals need starting pitching, a catcher and to upgrade their bench.
It's hard to find an executive, scout, or rival agent who doesn't believe that Harper will eventually sign with the Phillies, maybe a month from now when he can drive from his Las Vegas home to Mandalay Bay and make the official announcement himself.National League Rookie of the Year candidate Juan Soto, Adam Eaton and Victor Robles could start on Opening Day for Washington. It will cost them roughly $13 million.
"It's going to be a challenge to put the best product on the field, and that could include Harper and it could be doing things without Harper, " Rizzo said. For the moment, it seems he and Boras will explore options elsewhere.
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Given Harper's history with the Nationals, he seems unlikely to make a deal elsewhere without first circling back.
Thought the offer was $100 million short, there were no hard feelings between Harper and the team.
Boras did not counter, but word is the Nationals would go higher for a reasonable offer - though how much higher remains to be seen.
No position player has ever received a deal worth more than $27.5 million average annual value.
Zack Greinke ($US34 million), David Price ($US31 million) and Clayton Kershaw ($US31 million) all got more.
Average annual value would have been $30 million, USA Today Sports's Bob Nightengale reports.
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