Are the White Sox really the favorites to sign Bryce Harper?
When talking to reporters for nearly an hour Wednesday at the winter meetings in Las Vegas, agent Scott Boras was asked when his high-profile client, Bryce Harper, will be signing a free-agent contract.
"We could be meetings away from a deal," Boras told reporters, "or we could be weeks away."
Given his track record, Boras is likely to opt for the latter timeline to let a team like the Dodgers free up some payroll room, let a team like the Yankees and/or Cubs get back in the picture and let a team like the Phillies mull how much "stupid money" they really have for Harper.
But either way, the White Sox still look to be in play for the 26-year-old Harper, a coveted slugger.
One analyst, CBS Sports' Jim Bowden, went so far as to deem the Sox favorites in the Harper derby Wednesday, even though his prediction came across as more of a hunch.
Bowden connected the dots and correctly identified the White Sox as a team with plenty of money to spend and plenty of top prospects in the pipeline.
Boras said Harper is well aware of every interested team and their minor-league systems.
"I've given Bryce exhaustive reviews of every organization," Boras said. "He's been very studied about each. I think when you're signing a long-term contract, you're looking at a franchise in the long term, not just the short term. I think Bryce is really open to the geography.
"What he's really looking for is the ownership to make sure that he has every opportunity to achieve his goals to win a world championship."
As for the White Sox being the favorites to land Harper, general manager Rick Hahn must have heard Bowden's comments before meetings with reporters later Wednesday.
"I don't put too much stock in, 'The White Sox are the front-runners for this,' or, 'The White Sox are interested in that,' because a lot of the times it tends to be inaccurate," Hahn said.
That's not to say the White Sox lack interest in Harper, who is expected to be seeking $300 million or more.
"We've put ourselves in a position where we might be more viable this time around," Hahn said. "We've spent a lot of time over the last couple of years to put us in a position where we very reasonably or objectively have a bright future ahead of us."
Harper broke in with the Nationals in 2012 at the age of 19. Over seven seasons with Washington, he batted .279/.388/.512 with 184 home runs and 521 RBI.
The six-time all star was the National Leagues unanimous MVP in 2015 after slashing .330/.460/.649 with 42 homers and 99 RBI.