In this world, crazy news breaks every day. Apparently, this is no different in the MLB, where the free agent market has dragged on and on. And guess what—the Dodgers just might be back in the Bryce Harper mix once again.
News broke early Monday morning that Dave Roberts along with other club officials were seen in Las Vegas on Sunday.
A few thoughts ran through my mind upon reading this news first thing this morning. You don’t send Roberts to Vegas for nothing. Did Mark Walter saying something about not staying under the luxury tax the other day have anything to do with this? And the Dodgers would definitely have to trade an outfielder to make this happen, so are the rumors of Joc Pederson being on the move still true?
Granted, Vegas and Scottsdale, Arizona are not all that far apart, just a quick plane ride away. So it’s not like it would take that much to get there and see Harper. But the presence of the manager of the team taking time away to see a potential new player should mean something.
From Sunday’s Los Angeles Times article, when asked if the Dodgers’ ownership directed Andrew Friedman and co to stay under the luxury tax:
“No,” Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter said Saturday at Camelback Ranch. “Stan and Andrew run all that and they do what they think is best for the team, period, and to win.”
So. Was that somehow a little window into the thinking of the front office? A public “ok” to go and spend on Harper? I doubt it, but still, the timing is curious.
And then, if the Dodgers do sign Harper, there is the issue of too many outfielders. Since the Dodgers signed A.J. Pollock to be their full-time center fielder, that leaves just two spots left for Cody Bellinger, Pederson, and/or Alex Verdugo. The Dodgers have made it clear they aren’t trading Bellinger or Verdugo, so that supposedly leaves Pederson the odd man out. His name has been linked to trade rumors with the Chicago White Sox all winter long.
It had been presumed that Harper would be a Dodger for the last few seasons leading up to his free agency—it’s where he prefers to play. But it has yet to pan out that way. Harper is reportedly looking for a long term deal, somewhere in the 10-12 year range, for $325 million or more. The Dodgers refuse to give out long term contracts. I could see the Dodgers offering something less than five years, for maybe $40 milllion or so a year. Would Harper settle for less years to play in Los Angeles?
This news is most likely a play by Harper’s agent to drive up the price, and he will ultimately still land in Philadelphia. But stranger things have happened, especially in a strange year.