By Sam Bush

The Phillies are in the lead to land Bryce Harper and the Nationals are a distant second, according to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden.

“I keep hearing there’s a lot of momentum and traction here on him going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies,” Bowden said on CBS Sportsline Saturday. “And he could be rounding third and heading to home shortly.

“I’m hearing they’re pretty well down the process here.”

Harper remains a free agent as pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training this week, but his timeline has gone pretty much how J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer’s did last year. Those two players share an agent in Scott Boras with Harper and they both waited to sign until February.

Hosmer signed Feb. 19 of last year and Martinez waited all the way until Feb. 28.

Harper has no intention of signing a short-term deal, and according to The Athletic, he is going to get a deal north of 10 years and $300 million like he was asking for all along. The Nationals reportedly offered him that exact deal before the season came to an end last year, but he decided he wanted to test free agency.THOMAS LOTT

“Every indication I get is he’s going to get at least 10 years and he’s going to get more than $300 million,” Bowden said. “That has not changed and nor have my two favorite places for him, Philadelphia (No.) 1 clearly and a distant (No.) 2 Washington.”

The White Sox and Padres have also shown interest in signing Harper to a big deal. The Giants and Dodgers were looking at giving him a short-term contract.

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