Bryce Harper Nationals Yankees
Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals in action against the New York Yankees during their game at Yankee Stadium on June 12, 2018 in New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images

After months of rumors regarding the future of MLB’s top free agent, the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes might be down to two teams. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the outfielder is considering signing with the Philadelphia Phillies or San Francisco Giants.

The Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers met with Harper earlier this offseason, but they are reportedly out of the race.

Philadelphia will likely give Harper his largest contract offer. Nightingale told KNBR that San Francisco won’t give the six-time All-Star a 10-year deal, but he’s interested in the option to join the Giants on a shorter, lucrative contract.

Let’s say Harper does end up turning down tens of millions of dollars: that would leave fans of the New York Yankees scratching their heads.

New York hasn’t been interested in making a decade-long commitment to the 26-year-old—they already have a historic amount of money committed to Giancarlo Stanton through the 2028 season—but they can certainly afford to give him a little more than $30 million per year for the next few seasons.

Even though the Yankees are about to enter into the luxury tax, they’ve still got more money to spend than anyone. It was just two seasons ago that New York led all of MLB by a mile with $619 million in revenue. The Dodgers were second in 2017 with $522 million in revenue.

It’s rare that free agents turn down money, and if Harper is actually considering doing so, that doesn't mean he’d do it for just any team. Nightengale noted that San Francisco is close to Harper’s home in Las Vegas, and he’s intrigued by the idea of being the face of a franchise that routinely has 40,000 fans at each game.

Harper would be playing in front of a packed house at Yankee Stadium on most nights. The team led the AL in attendance last season, and that number would only increase with baseball’s most sought-after free agent joining the team.

There’s been speculation for years that Harper would be a Yankee one day, and with good reason. The outfielder embraces the spotlight, and he’s reportedly had his eyes on playing on a big stage like New York City. Harper idolizes Mickey Mantle, and you can bet he likes the idea of wearing the same uniform and playing the outfield in the Bronx just as the Hall of Famer did.

If Harper is going to sign a short contract, it would make the most sense to do so while playing half of his games at Yankee Stadium. The left-hander has the perfect swing to take advantage of the short porch in right field, which would allow him to increase his home run total and earn even more money in a few years.

Oracle Park in San Francisco isn’t exactly the most hitter-friendly park in the majors. Only Marlins Park was a worse place to try and hit home runs in 2018. Yankee Stadium ranked sixth on the list of best venues to hit home runs.

The Yankees' exact offer to Manny Machado isn’t known, but it’s probably in the ballpark of—if not more than—the deal the Giants have presented to Harper. It would only make sense for New York to make a similar contract offer to Harper.

Maybe the Yankees simply believe Harper is overrated and not worth a $30 million-plus salary on a short-term deal. He was an awful defensive player last season and hasn’t had a top-10 MVP finish since he won the award in 2015.

But New York has money to spend, and one poor investment won't matter. The luxury tax won’t cripple them. The Yankees are still being outspent by the Boston Red Sox, who just knocked them out of the playoffs on their way toward winning another World Series championship.

If Harper is considering signing with the Giants for only a few years, there’s no excuse for the Yankees not to match that offer.