There was a good long stretch when it seemed inevitable that the Dodgers – not the Phillies – would be the team to land Bryce Harper. They had the money, they had the long-term fit, they had the geography, and they had the off-the-field star-making power. The Dodgers even traded away two outfielders. It was obvious.
But then a parade of credible reports indicated the Dodgers were interested only on a very short-term deal, the kind that surely Harper was not going to have to settle for. So they were “out.”
And then months went by, with Harper still unsigned.
So, of course, now this is happening:
Sources: The Dodgers are back in the mix for Bryce Harper. Club officials, including manager Dave Roberts, were seen in Las Vegas on Sunday. https://t.co/cBRqZx4kOO
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) February 25, 2019
To be sure, the Dodgers did recently add A.J. Pollock to the outfield, but when it comes to Bryce Harper, no big market team should let the composition of their existing outfield – or short-term financial considerations – stop them from making a play if they can land the 26-year-old generational talent.
Maybe it’ll be the Dodgers taking advantage of this bizarre market to land Harper on a surprising deal. It would seem unlikely that Harper would get less – in years or dollars – than the 10 years and $300 million Manny Machado just got from the Padres, but who knows. Maybe Harper just doesn’t want to be in Philadelphia that badly.
Keep in mind, as this process winds down, it’s also just possible that a number of teams are taking their last swipes at a relative bargain, and Scott Boras would naturally be encouraging that to try to squeeze a little extra money out of whatever other serious suitors are out there (one of which is the Dodgers’ rival, the Giants).
There is no sense, however, that the Cubs are one of those teams taking a final swing. Because budgets.