Washington Nationals: Handicapping the Bryce Harper sweepstakes
By Danny Kelly
Quite frankly, unless you’re the Marlins or Rays, your team needs to be involved in either Bryce Harper or Machado. If you’re not at least showing interest in one of the two, can you honestly tell your fan base that you’re trying to field your best team?
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The San Francisco Giants actually have as good a chance as anyone on this list. The reason they didn’t make the list is two-fold.
First off, new Giants President, Farhan Zaidi, was the Assistant General Manager in Oakland and then the General Manager for the Dodgers. He’s worked in a small market and a big market, but in neither scenario has he gone after a free agent like Harper, and I wouldn’t expect that to change here.
Secondly, the Giants might be closer to a rebuild than to they are to contending right now. That’s not something that Harper is going to sign on for, he wants to win and he wants to win now.
Speaking of a rebuild, that brings us to the White Sox. The White Sox have the money to sign both Machado and Harper, but unless Harper just goes to the highest bidder, which is certainly possible, I don’t see him landing with the White Sox who may not win for another two to three years.
The mystery team is certainly out there and it could very well be within the Nationals division. Yup, I’m talking about the Braves, or how about even the Padres. Neither has shown a history of spending big in free agency and neither is a big market team, but Harper is a once in a generation talent. Considering the Braves payroll is sitting at a projected $86 million next season and the Padres sitting at a projected $73.8 million, there is definitely room for a big-time addition in there.
Odds of “the field” signing Harper: 25 to 1
However this plays out, expect Harper to wait this out for another month or so, probably until the Winter Meetings. The Winter Meetings take place in Bryce Harper’s hometown of Las Vegas. Wouldn’t it be something if the game’s biggest star signed under the brightest lights in the city that never sleeps?