Washington Nationals: Forecasting the Bryce Harper sweepstakes

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Unless something wacky happens, you can scratch out teams such as the Miami Marlins, San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays off the list now. They do not have the money or the winning organization Harper wants.

Yes, those three are obvious.

Powerhouse teams like the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are not high on the shopping list either. They can afford him, but no one whispers Harper’s desire to hit at Fenway or patrol right field at Busch Stadium. The New York Mets and Bay Area teams are long shots and the Los Angeles Angels have a high payroll with shiny stars already.

Although a Boston or Houston Astros could come from nowhere to snag Harper, they would need to blow him away with an offer while not busting their own payroll. The competitive balance tax is an issue for deep-pocketed teams. Some, like Washington, more than others.

Any team becomes a playoff contender with him, but do you see the Seattle Mariners offering $400 million?

Expect Boston, St. Louis, the San Francisco Giants and maybe the Mets to ask, but they are long shots unless the deal is too good to pass up. The Angels, close to his hometown of Las Vegas, are a dark horse too.