Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper seems unlikely to re-sign with the Washington Nationals but the door remains open. In this picture, Harper of the Nationals waves to the crowd following the Nationals 9-3 win over the Miami Marlins during their last home game of the year at Nationals Park in Washington, DC, September 26, 2018. Rob Carr/Getty Images

The door still remains open for a potential return to the Washington Nationals for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper.

Harper is one of the biggest free agents available since his Nationals deal expired and is expected to command one of the most lucrative contracts in MLB history this offseason.

Of course, the Nationals would like to keep him and did offer him a new deal earlier in the year, but it was reported that Harper rejected what was a 10-year, $300 million contract, with the 26-year-old being in line to make much more, even up to $420 million according to some projections.

Despite the likelihood that he will join a new team though, Nationals manager Dave Martinez says the Harper chapter in Washington is not over yet.

“As you know Bryce and I have a special relationship,” Martinez said, as per NBC Sports. “As a player, as a person, as a kid, I think he’s awesome. I love him to death, I do. Right now, we have to continue to move forward and try to get better. Not by any means, and I heard [Nationals general manager] [Mike] Rizzo say this and I feel the same way, that the door’s closed on Bryce."

"He’s got big decisions to make. Ultimately, he’s going to make the decision. And It’s tough. I know how he feels about his teammates, I know how he feels about Washington, but it’s a tough decision he needs to make for him and his family.”

Martinez's comments come just a few days after Nationals owner Mark Lerner had all but given up hope on Harper, though he could understand that there was a lot of money on the table.

"I really don't expect him to come back at this point," Nationals owner Mark Lerner said. "I think they've decided to move on. There's just too much money out there that he'd be leaving on the table. That's just not [Harper's agent] Mr. Boras' M.O. to leave money on the table."

"When we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, 'This is the best we can do.' We went right to the finish line very quickly. And we said, 'If this is of interest to you, please come back to us, and we'll see whether we can finish it up.' But we just couldn't afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that," he added.

As for where Harper could end up, Michael J. Duarte of NBC LA reported Monday that a rival baseball executive believes it is down to the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, all of whom are expected to meet him this week.

Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 home runs, 34 doubles and 100 RBI during the 2018 season. He has made six All-Star teams and also notably won the 2015 National League MVP.