Just when it looked like the Dodgers were out of the Bryce Harper derby and he was heading to Philadelphia a new contender emerged. The Dodgers have thrown their hat back in the ring and met with Bryce Harper.
The Oscars were on Sunday and the Dodgers appear to be interested in a plot twist of their own in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. Just as it appeared that Harper was destined to join the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers have once again emerged as a serious suitor. Just the latest twist in what has been a drama-filled off-season.
How serious remains to be seen but the Dodgers did send club officials to meet with Bryce during the weekend including Manager Dave Roberts according to reports. While this appears to be one of the traditional Scott Boras ploys to include the Dodgers to drive the price up on his client, you don’t just send your Manager and front office members to meet with a free agent unless you intend on seriously pursuing them.
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According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are only interested in signing Bryce Harper to a shorter term deal which is the opposite of the Phillies who are reportedly offering as many as ten years on their contract offer. Given the back and forth since the Phillies emerged as his primary suitor, there has been a sense that Harper does not want to play in Philadelphia and rumors earlier this off-season that Bryce wanted to play for the Dodgers surely give the Dodgers a shot.
With the calendar turning to March in a matter of days, there is no doubt that Scott Boras and Bryce Harper are looking to get his deal signed so he can report to spring training and begin prepping with his new team. It remains to be seen if there are any other teams involved but currently, the Dodgers and Phillies are the only two linked to Bryce Harper.
Andrew Friedman guaranteed the most money he ever has to a free agent in his signing of AJ Pollock. If the Dodgers are going to land Bryce Harper he will need to guarantee more than the fifty-five million he gave to Pollock.
The consensus is that the Dodgers are not afraid to make Harper the highest paid player ever on an annual basis, they just don’t want to hand out a long term deal. Long term guaranteed money or a shorter deal at a higher annual salary? That seems to be the final question to be answered before Bryce makes his decision.