Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals looks on from the dugout during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 16, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

It’s time to add a fifth team to the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes. The San Francisco Giants have met with MLB’s top free agent this week, according to multiple reports. They join the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox as the known suitors for the 26-year-old.

Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported earlier this week that at least eight teams have been in contact with Harper. It’s safe to say that San Francisco is one of those “mystery teams.” There are several educated guesses as to which other organizations might be late players for the six-time All-Star.

Teams like the Giants that didn’t meet with Harper earlier this offseason are likely not among the top contenders to land the superstar. Harper hasn’t received his desired record-setting offer, and San Francisco is likely exploring the possibility of inking him to a shorter contract.

It’s still probably a safe assumption that Harper will take the most money on the table. Washington reportedly offered him $300 million over 10 years at the end of the 2018 MLB season. Philadelphia seems determined to sign either Harper or Manny Machado this winter, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Phillies give Harper a historic deal.

Four of the five known suitors reside in the National League, and the latest MLB news could make a lengthy contract offer for Harper seem more sensible than before. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are discussing a number of rule changes, including the introduction of the universal designated hitter.

The addition of the DH to games played in NL ballparks seems to a matter of if, not when. The union reportedly wants the rule to be introduced for the 2019 season.

It was once thought that Harper might receive offers worth $400 million, but it’s clear that hasn’t been the case this offseason. One reason teams might be wary of committing so much money to him over the course of a decade is his declining defense.

Harper isn’t close to the outstanding defender he was when he first entered the league. The player that once posted a 1.5 defensive WAR as a rookie had a career-low -3.2 defensive WAR in 2018.

If NL teams are able to keep Harper in the lineup without risking him costing them in the field, paying him north of $300 million could prove to be worth it.

Even though Harper hasn’t matched his 2015 MVP season in recent years, he remains one of baseball’s most dangerous hitters. He’s recorded an offensive WAR north of 4.0 in each of the last two seasons.

Harper had a 1.008 OPS in 2017. He led the league with 130 walks in addition to his 34 home runs and 100 RBI last season.