It’s been well over four months since the Washington Nationals first presented Bryce Harper with their reported 10-year, $300 million offer. There have been rumors that the offer might’ve increased during the offseason, and the outfielder reportedly met with team owner Ted Lerner for a few hours before Christmas.

Washington has long been seen as one of the favorites to ink Harper to a contract this winter. Could that be changing as his free agency extends closer to spring training?

Former New York Mets’ general manager and current MLB analyst Steve Phillips seems to think that’s the case.

It looked like the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes might be down to the Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies earlier this offseason. With the 26-year-old still seeking a contract that’s to his liking, the number of teams with a real chance to sign the star player might have tripled.

Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported eight teams have been in contact with Harper. Some of those might not be real contenders, but teams like the San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox could be legitimate considerations for the six-time All-Star. The San Diego Padres are in the mix and could decide to throw money at Harper as they did with Eric Hosmer last year. Perhaps another mystery team will emerge as a true threat to land the superstar.

There has been some debate as to whether or not the Nationals are still willing to give Harper a massive, 10-year deal. That possibility actually seemed to disappear early in the offseason when Washington gave Patrick Corbin a six-year, $140 million contract.

After acquiring the top free-agent pitcher, Mark Lerner, Ted Lerner’s son, told 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C. that he believed Harper had moved on. Mark also indicated that the team’s offer to Harper wouldn’t increase.

That was before the supposed meeting at Lerner’s house and when it was presumed some team would’ve met Harper’s contract demands by now.

Corbin, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are all signed to lucrative, long-term deals. They will have a combined base salary of nearly $73 million in 2020. Infielder Anthony Rendon will be a free agent after making $18.8 million in the 2019 season, and Washington likely wants to sign him to a lengthy deal.

The Nationals will have to dig deep into their pockets to keep Harper on that roster.

Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals runs out a ninth-inning double against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 30, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Dustin Bradford/Getty Images