Many of the same teams have been linked to Bryce Harper since the 2018 World Series concluded. It’s well known that the Philadelphia Phillies are ready to throw big money at the outfielder, and the New York Yankees have been considered among the favorites to land Harper for years. The Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs have also been linked to Harper. The Chicago White Sox have been lurking as a possible big-spender this offseason.

Even with all those candidates to sign MLB’s hottest free agent, new contenders are emerging. Yahoo Sports has indicated that the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres could play a role in the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes.

It isn’t known if Houston will meet Harper’s asking price, but the Yahoo report notes that Harper has an “affection for the Astros.” We do know that Houston was willing to trade for Harper last season. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported last month that the team had a deal in place to acquire the outfielder in July, but the trade was vetoed by Washington Nationals’ ownership.

Houston is looking to improve their lineup this offseason after the offense took a step back in 2018.’s Richard Justice has reported that the Astros are interested in trading for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who finished second in the 2015 NL MVP voting when Harper won the award.

San Diego had one of the lowest payrolls in the 2018 season, but the team showed their willingness to hand out a lucrative contract in free agency last winter when Eric Hosmer received $144 million from the Padres. According to Yahoo Sports, San Diego is expected to check in with Harper, at the very least.

After going 66-96 last year, the Padres have put together have eight straight losing seasons. San Diego has reportedly considered a trade with the New York Mets for Noah Syndergaard as they try to bolster the roster.

Harper is expected to sign a contract worth well over $300 million. He rejected Washington’s 10-year, $300 million offer at the end of the regular season, and the Nationals could be among several teams that top that offer in the coming weeks.