Years before he was set to become a free agent, there was speculation regarding what kind of contract Bryce Harper would land before the 2019 MLB season. After the outfielder had an MVP season at 22 years old and looked poised to become the best player in baseball for years to come, there was even talk of the superstar becoming the first $500 million man in sports history.

Now that the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes has begun, it’s pretty clear that the former No.1 overall draft pick won’t be given a deal worth half a billion dollars. But Harper remains one of the most coveted free agents of all time, and he’s likely to get a contract that’s unlike one we’ve ever seen before.

Agent Scott Boras hasn’t stated publicly exactly how much money his client is seeking, but it seems clear that Harper is on a quest to become the highest-paid athlete in American team sports history. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Harper turned down a contract worth $300 million over 10 years made by the Washington Nationals at the end of the regular season.

That means Harper is likely looking to eclipse the record-setting $325 million contract that Giancarlo Stanton signed in 2014. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Harper also wants to surpass Zack Greinke’s average yearly salary of $34.4 million, which he earned with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015. A 10-year, $345 million contract could be the minimum Harper is prepared to sign for at the start of free agency.

Bryce Harper Washington Nationals Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals runs the bases before scoring against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Nationals Park on August 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The list of teams that would like to acquire Harper is long. The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants reportedly have interest in the six-time All-Star. The Chicago White Sox are also toying with the idea of making a play for Harper.

What about for $350 million? That might be a price tag too high for most of the league. The New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs have more money than just about anyone, but even they are unlikely to dole out that kind of cash for one single player.

The Philadelphia Phillies are thought to be the favorites to land Harper. If any team is going to commit somewhere between $350 and $400 million to Harper, it’ll likely be the one that seems more determined than any other to enter the 2019 season with a new superstar. Fancred’s Jon Heyman even reported that Philadelphia hasn't completely ruled out trying to acquire both Harper and Manny Machado.

It’s possible Harper will fall short of his expectations. While he remains one of the game’s best players, the outfielder hasn’t proven to be the transcendent star he once seemed destined to become. In three seasons since winning the 2015 NL MVP award, Harper has averaged 29 home runs, 91 RBI and a .903 OPS  per year with no top-10 MVP finishes.

If somehow Harper is forced to to “settle” for $300 million, it would still make him the second-highest paid player in MLB history, putting him ahead of Alex Rodriguez and the $275 million contract he signed before the 2008 season.