Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals reacts to striking out against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 26, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Unless Bryce Harper re-signs with the Washington Nationals—a possibility that’s appeared to be unlikely for a few weeks—MLB’s top’s free agent will almost certainly be looking to turn around a team that's coming off a losing season. The Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox are all reportedly pursuing the outfielder after finishing below .500 and well out of the playoff race in the 2018 season.

The San Diego Padres are almost certainly out of the race for Harper after reportedly signing Manny Machado.

Heading to Chicago could mean it’ll be a few years before Harper plays October baseball. The White Sox have failed to reach the postseason in the last decade while suffering 100 losses a season ago.

San Francisco isn’t far removed from having won three World Series championships in a five-year span, but the Giants don’t exactly have a promising future. After going a combined 50 games under .500 in the last two seasons, there has been speculation that the franchise could trade Madison Bumgarner and other veterans to start a complete rebuild.

Philadelphia presents Harper with a very different option. There were plenty of reasons to be positive about the team’s seventh straight year out of the playoffs. The Phillies posted a 14-win improvement from 2017 with an 80-82 record in 2018, and they could be ready to compete for a title as early as the upcoming season.

According to the latest betting odds, only the Los Angeles Dodgers have a better chance to win the National League pennant and reach the 2019 World Series. Signing Harper could make Philadelphia the clear No.2 team in the NL, breaking a tie with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.

L.A. is the prohibitive NL favorite after losing in the World Series in two straight seasons.

The Cubs haven’t been active in free agency, claiming they have no more money to spend. The Cardinals made one of the biggest trades of the offseason by acquiring All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, though they’ve missed the playoffs in three straight seasons.

Philadelphia has long been expected to sign either Harper or Machado this offseason. Now that Machado is reportedly off the market, the Phillies might decide it’s time to make a final push for the outfielder.

Even without landing one of the two star free agents, Philadelphia has significantly improved their roster. They traded for an All-Star shortstop (Jean Segura) and catcher (J.T. Realmuto). The Phillies also signed veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson.

Phillies’ ace Aaron Nola could be primed for a Cy Young season after finishing third in the race a year ago. Jake Arrieta, Philadelphia’s No.2 starter, is only a few years removed from winning the award.

Landing Harper would also weaken the Nationals, who could compete for the NL East title. The Atlanta Braves won the divisional crown in 2018 for the first time in five years. Josh Donaldson has been Atlanta’s only notable free-agent signing.

Philadelphia is the favorite to sign Harper and potentially give him the largest contract in MLB history.