The Obligatory Bryce Harper Post

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(Getty Images photo)

There are exactly three days remaining before pitchers and catchers begin filing into the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch. Still, outfielder Bryce Harper remains unsigned.

And, believe it or not, some folks are linking him to the Dodgers, even after all this time.

On Thursday, Randy J. Miller of nj.com added fuel to the gossip in Los Angeles when he wrote, “I’ve heard that if he didn’t go back to the Nationals that his preference was to go to the Giants or the Dodgers” and that “recent rumors suggest that he may be willing to take a three-year contract.”

Of course, Los Angeles was immediately thrown back into the picture, just because people enjoy the marvel of speculation.

Yet, for fans of the Dodgers who remain on the edge of their seats hoping for the improbable, the Dodgers already have a very crowded outfield and seem content with the squad’s landscape after signing A.J. Pollock to a multi-year deal two weeks ago.

Besides, president Stan Kasten insists that there are many advantages involved with remaining beneath the luxury tax threshold, although he still hasn’t exactly explained those exact reasons to the fans.

“I’m not going to go into that because that’s real inside baseball economic stuff,” Kasten said when he was pressed for details about his comment.

Regardless, the Giants, another team labelled as underachievers as far as roster upgrades go this winter, were also thrown into the rumor mix, specifically after the whispers surfaced about Harper possibly being willing to settle for a contract—a deal that’s much shorter in length than the 10-year version he was believed to be seeking early in the offseason.

Farhan Zaidi, the current San Francisco GM and former right-hand man to Dodgers’ boss Andrew Friedman, traveled to Vegas this week to meet with Harper. Zaidi didn’t offer many details about the meeting, except stating that there was interest from both parties about a potential deal.

“There’s obviously mutual interest on both sides, so we thought it made sense to get together,” Zaidi told reporters. “We had a good conversation over a few hours, and he’s obviously got a lot of suitors and a lot of interest.”

Even San Francisco catcher Buster Posey got in on the action.

“Yeah, sign him up!” Posey said. “What team out there wouldn’t want a Bryce Harper, a Manny Machado or a lot of free agents out there?”

The last we heard, “at least eight teams are still checking in on Harper,” according to a tweet by Jon Heyman. He didn’t mention exactly which clubs are at the forefront, but the Phillies are among the clubs believed to be the top suitors.

It may be worth mentioning, though, that Harper turned down an extension offered by the Nationals before the 2018 season ever came to an end. The exact numbers of the proposition were not revealed, but reports guessed the deal to be worth somewhere in the 10-year/$300 million range, which is notable, considering the current state of the MLB free agent market.

Initially, some pundits actually believed that Harper could command a pact in the range of $400 million; however, due to the premise that many GMs are unwilling to spend this winter—aside from Philadelphia’s Matt Klentak—the supposition that Harper may agree to a short-term deal has now surfaced.

As far as number go, like clockwork, Harper’s offensive output has teeter-tottered over the past four seasons. After a monumental 1.109 OPS and an MVP award back in 2015, he posted a .814 OPS and a paltry .243 batting average in 2016. Consequently, he rebounded and impressed with a four-digit OPS of 1.008 in 2017, but fell back down to earth a bit last season with an OPS of .889, despite leading the majors with 130 walks.

Many followers of the Dodgers have compared Harper’s 2018 offensive campaign to the numbers put up by Max Muncy last year. Muncy led the Dodgers with an astronomical .973 OPS, suggesting that Harper may not be as much of a significant upgrade as many perceive.

Furthermore, while Harper has always ranked well-above average in defensive metrics and range factors, Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs put together a story in November showing some not-so-impressive numbers from last season. Harper played a lot more center field in 2018, however, which could have played a part in his regression in 2018.

Perhaps Friedman took all those numbers into consideration when deciding to pass on the superstar.

And maybe the Dodgers are better for it.

 

49 thoughts on “The Obligatory Bryce Harper Post

  1. “I’m not going into that because that’s real inside baseball economic stuff”

    Obviously over our head. He’s probably right. We’re stupid enough to pay $268 FCI to watch grown men play baseball we are clearly not well schooled in economic stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Come on if Harper would take a 3 year deal Dodgers have to sign him. We would be over the cap this year but would pay the minimal fine. Next year a ton of salary comes off the books starting with Ryu and Hill. Also it would free up Verdugo and Pederson to offer up to Indians and create a mega package for Kluber they can’t refuse! That would give us a great chance to finally bring a WS back to LA. All in AF !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. I was thinking along the same lines Rich. If we could get him for 3-4 years, that would free up some outfielders we could use to get Kluber. If just Harper, I say no thanks, but if AF could do both deals, I’m all in favor. I think the reason people are talking 3 years for Harper now is because that’s when the CBA expires, although I’m not exactly sure what advantage there would be for Harper in the new contract.

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  3. Just had to bring the guys name up and all the nut bags immediately come out of the wood work with what if’s and lets trade this guy for him and whammo we win the series. Unfortunately it does not work that way. You have to play the games on the field, not in your dream scenario. Harper makes the Dodger offense better, I get that. But in order for it to work, they have to create roster space first, so someone gets released or traded. The Indians at THIS POINT in time, have pulled Kluber off the market, period. It looks like if he gets dealt at all it will be at the deadline. Now, considering they are locked in a pretty contentious arbitration hearing with Bauer, they might be mad enough to trade him. Would you trade Verdugo or Joc straight up for Bauer? I would. But again it all boils down to what if’s. I would sign Harper to no more than a 3 year deal, with an opt out after the second year. If they cannot win a series with him and all the money space they will have next year, then cut bait and start all over.

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  4. I was looking over the non roster lists of the teams. Some have no posted them on their web sites yet. I was looking for former Dodgers. Not many of them out there so far, although we know the Giants have signed a few. Ricky Nolasco just signed a deal with the D-Backs. Old friend Javy Guerra is with the Jays. Edward Paredes, who in a few outings looked pretty good, is now with the Phillies. The Dodgers have not posted the list on their web site yet, but we all know who is on it. It will be the 3rd or 4th day of spring before all the uni numbers are up on there.

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    1. Pollock will be wearing number 11 and that’s the only reason we couldn’t trade for JTR who wears the same number. Also won’t be signing Harper who wears Fernando’s number. We can, however, trade for Kluber, as long as Wes Parker gives his permission.

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      1. I knew that Pollock was getting his old number. Courtesy of Manny Mota…who has let everyone and their brother wear it. Kelly is going to be wearing AJ’s number 17. 34 has not been worn since Fernando left. Sort of an unofficial retirement you could say. But most of the new players have not yet been assigned new numbers. I want to see who gets Puig’s 66. Wood did not get his old number back in Cincy, he is #40 over there.

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      2. I’ll be very surprised if Yimi remains with the organization beyond ST so if you feel the need to trade for Castillo go right ahead Dennis. I’m giving you the all clear.

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    1. I can tell you that Bear definitely holds nut bags in higher esteem than buds and there is a pecking order among the various nut varieties. You’ll have to get more info from him but I think he once told me that cashews outrank almonds and walnuts outrank cashews. I might be wrong about that though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same goes for Verdugo. He wore #61 last year. They had moved Farmer up from his number. He wore 17 last year. But they have lower numbers available now that Grandal is gone, #9,, Dozier, #6 Machado, #8, although Geren might want his number back. That would open up #16. I do not like pitchers wearing single digits, never have. But Urias considers 7 his lucky charm. Jeff, pistachios are number one. The best nut going and there is really no contest. Walnuts and cashews are pretty good. Almonds are great with almond joy. Buds depend on long term commitment. There is a different level of trust for buds. The nut bags I refer to are those who want Harper no matter what the cost and believe that Harper puts the Dodgers over the top. I do not think that way.

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      2. The king of nuts is the Coco-de-Mer coconut. His court consists of the Brazil nut, the Koka nut, the macadamia nut and the Pecan. Hazelnut, almond, pistachio, walnut and cashews are all nights around the table though the cashew in some circles is consistency a legume.

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    1. I know that Boras has a very strong personality and likes to take complete control over player negotiations, but I can assure you that if, for some reason, Harper decided that he wanted to take a 3-4 year offer from the Dodgers because he wants to play in L.A., Boras wouldn’t be able to stop him. Harper is one guy that would stand up to him.

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  5. Bear, you were wondering above who was going to get Puig’s #66. I’m going to guess that unless someone specifically requests it, it won’t be worn by anyone this year. I don’t think the team will just assign it to someone for this season and maybe for a couple after that. And while we’re on the subject of numbers, someone tell Toles to change his number to something lower, like 6. Wearing number 60 just makes him seem like a minor leaguer on the cusp. He needs to boldly step forward, grab a lower number, and act like there is no way he’s being sent down this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday. Any bets on when Harper and Machado sign? Yankees have a 220 million dollar offer out there for Machado. Dodgers play the Reds for the only time this spring on the 14th and 15th of March. The game on the 14th is a split squad game. It is going to be strange seeing Puig in that red uni.

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    1. U checking up on me mom???? Been talking to my grand daughter who found her dad dead a few days ago when they went to check on him. Since we talked until about 30 minutes ago, I am still up., It is only 3 here right now. Sometimes I am up that late watching a movie. I had a long nap earlier today, so I am just not sleepy yet.

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  7. Former Dodger farm hand, Luke Raley signed a minor league contract with the Twins and was invited to spring training. Raley has some pop in his bat. He hit 17 HR’s at Tulsa last year, and 20 for the season. But he also has a tendency to strike out a lot. All sorts of talk about the visit the Giants paid to Harper. He and the Giants met for 4 hours which was a lot longer than they expected it to be. Harper expressed a lot of admiration for Giants catcher, Buster Posey. Both the Yankees and the White Sox have made offers of over 200 million to Machado. The average AAV for his contract with the Sox would be 31.5 million. Second to the 33 mil for Greinke. Watched a little of the new football league tonight. San Antonio against San Diego. SD’s team is called the Fleet. Picture of a battleship is their logo. Former Ram’s head coach, Mike Martz is the head coach of the Fleet. Interesting color combinations on the uni’s .

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    1. While I don’t see SF being much of a threat, I don’t want to see Harper land there.

      Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t recall an approaching season that felt more meh than this one. I live here and I have no desire to go to Spring Training. Not yet anyway. Perhaps something exciting is yet to happen.

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      1. I care less where Harper goes. The Dodger pitching staff has handled him pretty well over the years. If he ends up with the Giants, so what? He does not immediately make them all that much better. Their pitching staff is not that great except for the Mad Bum. Cueto and the Shark are a mess. Posey is older and has been injury prone. I would be more worried if Harper ended up in Dago.

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  8. “He does not immediately make them all that much better”

    Yeah he does. And more importantly, he makes them relevant. Same with him going to San Diego. If he’s not with the Dodgers I don’t want him anywhere near the West.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Giants will always be relevant no matter what to Dodger fans. I really do not care where he goes. SD, SF, no big deal to me. The Dodgers are what they are, if they cannot handle the Giants or the Padres, they do not deserve to win. I doubt the pundits will think anything less of LA just because Harper goes to a very bad Giants team, or a very young Padres team. Because of the way the off season has gone, and the way the ownership has set the bar, I am not all that excited about anything this team does.

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  9. I don’t know about that Bear. That’s a mighty short porch in right and a lot of room for hits to fall in center. Adding a guy like Harper could mean several wins for the giants and a lot of excitement to the fan base. And if any of those extra wins come at Dodgers expense it could effect home field scenarios in October. It’s already very unlikely we will get home field in the World Series. I’d hate to lose that advantage against Chicago because of a walk off by Harper in September. I’m all for the giants staying right where they are – 73 wins and battling the Padres for last place.

    It’s true we don’t NEED Harper. I’d like him for 2 reasons – he’s an All Star who wants to play here and if he is here he’s not on another team in the West.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess what it really is my friend is that I am sick and tired of these two prima donna’s and all the drama going on. If the Dodgers were to sign him, great, If he goes to Dago or SF, I really do not give a rats ass anymore. I am pretty well fed up with all the BS surrounding these guys and all the hype they get. Machado and Harper cannot go away soon enough to suit me.

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      1. I get that. I think if we just show patience it will all unfold as it must. After giving it a lot of thought, I don’t see Harper in San Francisco or San Diego. He is entering his prime and doesn’t want to waste any of it. He’s going to sign with a team he can help get to, and win, in the playoffs right away. The only team in the West that is built to win now is Los Angeles.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have been patient and nothing has panned out. This has been going on since after the world series and I have just had my fill of the whole thing. I hope neither one of those guys gets anywhere near what they are asking for. Tired of both of them holding up the entire league for selfish purposes. Screw both of them.

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    1. Add this winter to last, and I am tired of the direction this ownership and FO has gone. To hell with them. I am not spending my money on an inferior product. And that is what they are making everyone pay for. I cancelled my MLB package, because the cost is too high.

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    1. I can almost name the 25 who will come out of spring right now barring an injury. The only real question marks are in the bullpen. That is th eonly area that pretty much is an open race. Your infielders are going to be Freese, Seager, Turner, Muncy, Bellinger, Hernandez and Taylor. C will be Martin and Barnes, with Pollock, Verdugo, Pederson and Toles as your outfielders. Kersh, Maeda, Hill, Buehler, and Ryu your starting pitchers with Jansen, Kelly, Cingrani, Alexander, Baez and Stripling as locks for the rest of the pen. Leaving one open slot and about 7 pitchers trying to make the cut. Urias will start the year in AAA, To limit his innings and make sure he is healthy enough to help the team down the stretch, Schultz, McCreery, Fie4lda, Garcia, Stewart and the rest duking it out to make the pen. Stewart and Garcia will end up either being traded or cut after spring training. Not one od the non roster guys even sniff the roster. Trust me, that is the way it will shake out.

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      1. Geez Bear, you’ve just taken all the fun out of spring training. On the other hand your close friend Andrew may have just been waiting for your analysis so he could turn the roster upside down this week and make you look bad. OK, now my turn to predict the opening day roster. Barring injury…………………………………..what Bear said.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree that the team looks set . Some relief pitcher may impress, but the main body of the 25 is cemented and anchored.

    With the 10 day IL corrected politically and still in place there will again be a revolving door between the dugout and the jacuzzi. We have about 35 guys that could play for other teams and they will all be called upon at some point.

    I too don’t give a damn about Harper or Machado anymore. Ef ‘em both. Bear talked me into it. Let’s light this candle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just read that Boras is meeting with Friedman. Could screw up the whole enchilada. Heyman reported that after the Dodgers declined to include Bellinger in a trade for Realmuto, Miami insisted on Lux, Day and either Smith or Ruiz. Guess the Dodgers made the right move not taking that deal,

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      1. According to Heyman, it happened yesterday in LA. Kluber is off the market. AV has skills in the minors. His MLB experience is not that extensive. I know what I am getting with Joc and they have 3 guys who can play center as well if not better than Verdugo. Taylor, Hernandez and Pollock. The corners are a mish mash…..

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      2. OK, we’ll just disagree on this one (we’ve been agreeing too much lately anyway). I’ll take Verdugo with the higher ceiling. You’ll take Joc with the higher floor. You could very well be correct and we’ll know a lot more after this season, no matter how this plays out. With regard to Kluber’s being off the market, probably correct but it could also be due to the fact that the Indians said they wanted Verdugo plus others and AF said no. If he gets Harper he might say yes.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is always a possibility. But everything I have read says that there are no talks what so ever right now about Kluber.

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    1. An edit capability is yet needed here.

      I can stIill support a Harper signing. Give him Joc’s roster spot. We could get some good prospects for Pederson. Or go ahead and trade Verdugo. Joc looks like he loves being a Dodger. Verdugo looks like loves being himself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They might do it simply to keep him off of the Giants. Face to face is the best way to do that. But if they do, I do not see a long term deal. I would trade Verdugo. You know what you are getting with Pederson. Verdugo is a prospect until he proves otherwise. And I think he has more trade value than Joc would.

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      2. Although I agree that Verdugo would bring more in a trade I think I would move Joc. Verdugo can play all three outfield positions whereas it seems as though they are only comfortable playing Joc in left at this point. I also like the bat to ball skills that AV has exhibited and I don’t see that at all with Joc. On the other hand if Verdugo would help bring Kluber I might change my mind in a hurry.

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