Bryce Harper is expected to shatter contract records when he signs his next deal and the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and Washington Nationals are the early favorites for his services.

One executive believes the Nationals are a long-shot to re-sign Harper -- “How are they going to sign him? They defer money in every contract," the executive said. However, Washington has surprised in the past by signing Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg for a combined $385 million.

"I always have hope," Mike Rizzo says about Washington's chances to keep Harper on an extension. "Who wouldn't want to have him long-term? We'd love to have him long-term. We scouted, signed and developed him. And he's been an MVP here. He's great on the club and in the clubhouse. He's a wonderful kid who's been misunderstood."

Harper will be a free agent after the 2018 season. He is a four-time All-Star in five seasons. He's one year removed from a 42-home run season with a 1.109 OPS and a 9.9 WAR.