Updating the Bryce Harper Saga
The entire baseball world has been caught up in the Bryce Harper free agency for the last four months, and there is still no end in sight. One has to imagine the conclusion is coming at some point soon, but there is no indication that he has made a decision or is on the verge of doing so. At this point last week, when Manny Machado was signing in San Diego, it seemed all but certain that Harper was going to end up in Philadelphia and eyes would be turned to the next tier of free agents, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. Instead, the rumor mill has slowly moved further and further away from the Phillies, and over to the west coast.
The biggest news of the week here was that the Dodgers swept in on Monday for a meeting. Later that day, there was some talk that the Padres were going to get back in on the star outfielder’s market, but that doesn’t seem to be realistic. What does seem realistic, though, is that the Giants are serious about making a play for Harper, which is a bit surprising. Perhaps as a response to the Dodgers making their way back into this market, their chief rival is making sure they aren’t totally left out. The Dodgers, for their part, seem to be set on a shorter-term deal with a high average annual value. The belief is that Harper would love to play in Los Angeles, but he’s had his eyes set on long-term deal. The Giants, meanwhile, are reportedly discussing the possibility of a ten-year deal, which throws a fascinating wrench into all of this.
Amid all of the speculation with the two west coast teams, the Phillies are still clearly in the mix as they have been the entire time. They could even still arguably be the favorites, though the winds are pushing in the other direction right now. According to a report, one of the issues getting in the way of a deal is a disagreement on when to put Harper’s opt-out into the deal. One side wants it after three years, the other after five. There clearly has to be more here, but the Phillies are not going to go away quietly. I still think he’s going to end up there, but the two NL West teams appear to be very serious contenders now. Mostly I just want this all to be over, though.