Bryce Harper appears headed to the Phillies

That may have been the case under any circumstances, but especially so after the Los Angeles Times on Thursday reported the Dodgers have sent documents to investors pledging to stay under Major League Baseball's luxury-tax threshold for the next four years.

First, the Nationals - often described as somewhere between maddeningly selective in their spending and unnecessarily frugal - were willing to give one of their players a record-setting deal.

Bryce Harper has reached free-agency after years of anticipation.

They reportedly touched base with the Nationals on him at the non-waiver trade deadline this past season and claimed Harper on waivers less than a month later, although the two teams were unable to come to an agreement on a trade.

It's worth remembering the Red Sox won a championship that season as well, which can never be discounted as motivating the Yankees to do more. "Its elite. Global, certainly", Boras said of working on a deal for Harper in free agency.

Bryce Harper is destined to join the Philadelphia Phillies, according to executives polled on the free agent's future by USA Today.

The sides could still strike a deal later in the off-season. They can not wait for Harper to make his decision - which many in the industry believe will come no sooner than the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas next month - and miss out on the market.

While Harper rejected the Nationals' initial offer, he can still choose to re-sign with the team.

Obviously the Yankees could afford to sign either one of them anyway, especially after re-setting their luxury tax at a lower rate by staying under the $197 million threshold in 2018.

"I'm comfortable with the alternative (to signing Harper)", Rizzo said Tuesday. For the moment, it seems he and Boras will explore options elsewhere. His clients include Nationals pitchers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and former Nats outfielder Jayson Werth.

Vanessa Coleman