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MLB free agency: Giants ‘expected’ to be in mix for Bryce Harper next winter

San Francisco has a lot of positives to offer one of the game’s best players.

MLB: NLDS-Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants are “expected” to be in the running to sign superstar outfielder Bryce Harper next winter, a source told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Harper is entering the final year of his contract with the Nationals. He will be making $21.625 million after he signed a one-year deal with the club last May. He is expected to test the market and possibly be the crown jewel of a free agent class that could include names such as Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw (opt-out), Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon, David Price (opt-out) and Andrew Miller.

Though Heyman says the Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies and Yankees appear to be the early favorites for Harper’s services, Heyman points out that the Giants “appreciate sluggers and superstars” and they went after Giancarlo Stanton this offseason to try to improve their outfield. In addition, Heyman says the Giants have been working to keep themselves under the luxury tax threshold, they have a ton of revenue that can help them afford Harper and do not have a lot of great young outfielders waiting in the wings in the minors.

Harper, who has had preliminary extension talks with the Nationals, could be a nice fit for the Giants, even though they acquired Andrew McCutchen in a trade with a Pirates and signed Austin Jackson this offseason.

Despite being injured at the end of the season, Harper put together another strong campaign in 2017, slashing .319/.413/.595 with 29 home runs, 87 RBI, 27 doubles and a 4.7 WAR. The 26-year-old has posted a .285/.386/.515 career slash line while earning five All-Star nods, a 2015 NL MVP honor and NL Rookie of the Year award in six career seasons. He has also led the Nationals to the playoffs four times in that span, but they have lost in the NLDS each time.