Where is Bryce Harper headed this offseason?
Picks: Nationals (6 votes), Dodgers (2 votes), Phillies (0.5 votes), Giants (0.5 votes)
No one seems to know where the Harper chips will fall. His shaky performance has clouded the picture, but he also hasn’t dropped many hints as to his preferred destination either.
If Harper continues to scuffle, it actually could give the Washington Nationals a better chance at re-signing him. Harper would probably look to rebuild his value on a short-term deal – maybe two years worth roughly $50M with a player option after year one – before dipping into free agency again.
But if Harper surges to his typical levels down the stretch, he will likely ink a nine-figure mega-contract. As we saw in the Home Run Derby, even in a down season, Harper is still one of the most magnetic attractions in the game. With youth and immense talent on his side, someone will surely take a swing even if his yearlong stats are slightly suppressed by his poor first half.
San Francisco is not afraid to make a splash; with an aging core, the Giants need to make a move to blow it up or push their chips towards the center of the table. A Harper signing clearly signals an all-in play.
The Dodgers are the big fish to fear. L.A. reset its tax situation prior to 2018 and is looking for an outfield star. Machado likely isn’t a long-term fit in Los Angeles with Corey Seager and Justin Turner locked in on the left side of the infield, but Harper is a massive upgrade over the Dodgers’ current set of inconsistent outfielders.
The Washington Nationals could certainly re-sign Harper to a mega-deal as well (check out that Harper quote from earlier about wanting to play for Martinez for another “10, 12 years.”)
Ownership has spent big for Scherzer and Strasburg in recent years, and Harper clearly showed his affection for the organization and the city during the Derby. Rizzo has shown the ability to get creative with contracts, so if he can draw up an enticing offer with gobs of money and player control, Harper may still be leading the Nationals in 2019 and beyond.