The hottest ticket to come from the National League free agent market will surely be Washington Nationals All-Star Bryce Harper. Harper, who is 26, was in his final year of a two year $35.2 million deal. He’s spent all seven of his major league seasons with the Washington Nationals but has failed to make it big time.
He’s made the NL All-Star team every season except one. He won the 2012 rookie of the year and 2015 NL MVP award. Surely he’s a great talent, but not talented enough for the LA Dodgers to sign him to a long term record deal. The Dodgers are coming off of their second consecutive trip to World Series and their ace Clayton Kershaw just signed a three year $93 million deal to stay out west with the Joe Kelly fight club. So if not LA, where?
Will Harper Leave the National League?
We all witnessed what reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton did in the AL this year and it was certainly a step back. Seeing how the American League does offer some tougher pitching would Harper want to follow what Stanton did? Or will he stay in the National League where he’s more comfortable? Many experts think that it’s best for Harper to stay in the NL. But, that may not exactly be the best thing.
Sticking with the NL, where could Harper go? Well, we have to look at the NL teams with money. LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington. LA doesn’t want to spend the money, so they’re out. Chicago has quite the payroll for 2019 as their at just over $208 million. Adding on to that may not be in the best interest for them if they want to avoid paying extra. Philadelphia appears to be more in on the Manny Machado race than it does Bryce Harper. And they just gave a three year, $50 million deal to Andrew McCutchen so it appears unlikely that Philadelphia will be a landing spot — for now. St. Louis is in the same boat as Chicago is, they just don’t have that much money unless they don’t mind blowing over the luxury tax.
That leaves us with Washington. They have the money but does Bryce Harper want to go back to a place that has never met expectations? Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has said repeatedly that “the door is open” on Harper and it looks like a return is possible. Don’t be surprised either if Harper ends up back in D.C.
If Harper Were To Leave The NL…
There has been one team that is strongly linked to Harper from the AL. The Chicago White Sox. A team that has constantly been at the bottom of the AL Central is also a team that has all the money and then some to sign Harper. The Yankees cant afford Harper and neither can the Red Sox unless if they both drop some serious contracts. The only fit for Bryce Harper in the AL would really be the White Sox. Although they aren’t a “win now” team, they’re a young team that may be on the rise. So if the White Sox and the Nationals are the two top options (as of right now) why not stay in Washington? It’s the National League where he’ll perform much much better.
– Brian Berard (@RockyBerard)
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