Bryce Harper is the biggest name on the MLB free agent market this year. After 7 years with the Washington Nationals Harper is ready to find himself a new home. There are a small handful of teams that are actively pursuing the 6x all star. Some teams make more sense than others, but what Harper and his agents appear to be looking for is the money. Scott Boras is Harper’s agent and Boras is one of the most hated men in the baseball word but you have to give him credit, he is very good at getting his players paid.
What does Harper bring to the table?
There are 30 teams in the MLB and every single one should make an attempt at signing Harper. If you are a baseball fan and you say your teams doesn’t need Bryce Harper you are flat out wrong. What you are saying is your team doesn’t need a superstar who hasn’t even entered his prime yet. That is just flat out stupid. Bryce Harper makes any team he join instantly better.
In Harper’s 7 season in the Nation’s Capital he accumulated a .279/.388/.512 slash line and is accounted for 30.7 fWAR. Harper has launched 184 home runs to go along with 521 RBIs. He won Rookie of the Year in 2012 and won MVP in 2015.
The Current Vegas Odds to land Harper are as show:
White Sox +500
There are 5 teams that currently make the most sense for Harper. The Dodgers, Phillies, Yankees, Cubs and White Sox.
The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be the front runner for Harper after last week’s trade with the Cincinnati Reds where they sent outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig along with lefty Alex Wood. In the deal they were able to not only clear up space in their crowded outfield, but they also cleared up a large sum of money that could be used to pursue Harper.
There is no secret that Harper is the Dodgers main target. Harper would instantly make the Dodgers the World Series favorites and he would continue to be one of the most talked about players in the world of baseball with the Los Angeles market. As it stands now I see the Dodgers as the favorites purely based on the fact that they have mad the moves to clear money to pursue him.
The Phillies have already made an attempt to bolster their outfield with the signing of Andrew McCutchen. He and Odubel Herrera are going to occupy left field and center field respectively. That leaves a hole in the right field position. Low and behold, Harper fits the bill. Harper has predominantly played right field in Washington and would do so if he were to sign in Philadelphia.
The Phillies definitely have the money to go after Harper and I am sure he is very high on their radar. But he is playing second fiddle to Manny Machado who appears to be the Phillies prefered choice. As it currently stands Machado is believed to prefer the Yankees. So if that signing were to occur then the Phills would turn their attention right back to Harper.
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Ahh, the New York Yankees. The team that every big named player in either the free agent or trade market world is rumored to be connected to. That may just be me, but it does feel that no matter who the player is, if they are good and are looking for a new home the Yankees want them. That is by no means a bad thing, just an observation over time.
As the Yankees currently sit, their outfield is currently very crowded. Although if they wanted Harper that bad they would have made a move by now to shred some money and clear up outfield position. Going back to the point about Machado, he does seem to be the Yankees number one target and it appears that Machado will be heading to the Bronx. Which if he does I would think that takes Harper off of the Yankees radar completely.
The White Sox are the team in this race that I think many people overlook. When you look at the White Sox as an organization you look at the young talent that is currently in their system and have nothing but to think that this team could be a strong contender in a few years. If Harper were to sign on the southside that would essentially become “his team” in the sense that he would be the number one player on that team.
The White Sox are keeping close tabs on Harper and at one point were deemed the favorite to land him. The Sox currently have their attention focused on Manny Machado, like a number of other teams on this list, and if they were to lose out on Machado naturally they would be targeting Harper.
Harper is the guy that the Cubs are actively trying to sign. For the longest time they were the favorites to land Harper. Not only just because it makes sense, but also to the connection that Harper Harper has with Cubs 3rd baseman Kris Bryant. The two of them grew up together playing baseball in Las Vegas. Oh and not to mention, Harper has a dog named Wrigley. Which for those who don’t know, the Cubs play at Wrigley Field.
The main thing, and I think the only thing that is keeping the Cubs from pulling the trigger is the money situation. In order for the Cubs to land Harper they need to make a move to clear up some money and take away from the crowded outfield. The Cubs have been rumored to have asked Scott Boras for more time for the Cubs to make some moves before Harper chooses to sign, in hopes that they can persuade him to the Northside.
The homer in me wants Harper to play for the Chicago Cubs, but until the Cubs make a trade to move salary I am just not sure if it is going to happen. As it stands I see him signing with the Dodgers which I don’t necessarily have a problem with. As long as Harper is not wearing a Yankees or White Sox uniform opening day I will be happy.
Harper is definitely taking is time to ensure he makes the right decision for himself and his family. But be prepared for when he does sign, because when that happens all hell will break loose among fans and the media in the sports world.