Bryce Harper rumors: Phillies the favorites as superstar free agent closes in on a deal

Free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper could be closing in on an deal with a new team. Saturday on CBS Sports HQ, MLB insider Jim Bowden said he heard talks between Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies were intensifying -- and that an agreement could soon be wrapped up. 

"I keep hearing there's a lot of momentum and traction with him going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. He could be rounding third and heading to home shortly," Bowden said.

On Sunday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network echoed Bowden's sentiments, saying "things are heating up with Harper."

Heyman also noted that other contenders for Harper, like the Nationals, Padres and others, haven't been told they are out of the running for the outfielder.

Harper, 26, entered the offseason considered either the best or second-best player available, behind free-agent shortstop Manny Machado. For his career, he's hit .279/.388/.512 (139 OPS+) with 184 home runs and 75 stolen bases. Although he hit for a disappointing .249 average last season, he still reached base 39 percent of the time, resulting in a 133 OPS+.

The Phillies have had an active winter, adding J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura through trades and Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson in free agency. Harper would help push them closer to the top of the National League East, a position they haven't held since 2011.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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