Nolan Arenado deal ups the ante on Bryce Harper for Phillies
Phillies team president Andy MacPhail sat in the media room at Citizens Bank Park following last season and spoke about the potential of future free agent classes, lending a safety net to owner John Middleton and general manager Matt Klentak if they were to swing and miss on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

Well, a potential future target is now off the market as the Colorado Rockies have agreed to a contract extension with their All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado. It's an eight-year deal worth $260 million with an annual average is $32.5 million, a major-league record for a position player.

Having missed out on Machado, grasping to remain as the favorite to sign Harper, and now with Arenado inking a deal to remain in Colorado, the Phillies find themselves in a tight corner.

Knowing the details of Arenado's contract, it'll likely take a 10-year deal worth upwards of $350-million to potentially satisfy Scott Boras. This will surpass Zach Grienke's $34.4 million annual average and Giancarlo Stanton's $335 million total contract over 13 years.

Arenado's extension includes an opt-out after three years, something that also is likely to be included in a potential offer to Harper.

The question, however, becomes the timing of the opt-out - and how many opt-outs need to be included in an offer. It's another add-on to a potential contract that's already under sizeable public scrutiny.

There's nothing to say these recent developments preclude the Phillies from further negotiating with Harper, but you have to wonder if Middleton and Co. are nearing the point where it's too rich of a deal to make sense, especially if Harper can opt-out in three or four years.

If the opt-out is something Harper needs to make a contract palatable, then it's likely the Phillies may have to overpay to counteract a shorter offer - with a similar AAV - from the Dodgers.

They have the cash to do that, but do they have the willingness to pull the trigger?
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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