Free agent Bryce Harper is set to command perhaps the richest contract in MLB history. And while the Los Angeles Dodgers want the outfielder, there’s a catch. They don’t want to sign him to a long-term deal, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Remember, the Nationals put an offer in the $300-million range on the table a couple of months ago. But that wasn’t enough for the 2015 National League MVP. And when he does land with a team this offseason, we expect it to be in the 10-year range. So what are the Dodgers really planning to do exactly?
“…A short-term deal with a high average salary and opt-outs might hold more appeal, but such an agreement likely would create luxury-tax issues for the Dodgers in 2019, and the team already has too many outfielders,” Rosenthal writes.
This past season, Harper’s average fell all the way to .249. However, he led the league in walks (130) and still got on base 39.3 percent of the time. He hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 doubles and home runs apiece. Oh, and he’s only 26 years old. So yeah, he is going to get his money’s worth this offseason even if it’s not with the Dodgers. Despite the down average, he was still worth 3.5 fWAR in 2018 according to Fangraphs. Of course, that’s a far cry from his 2015 MVP-winning season (9.3). He also put up a 135 wRC+, good for eighth in the NL.
This past season, the Dodgers made the World Series for a second consecutive time. For the second straight year though, they fell short on baseball’s biggest stage — this time to the Boston Red Sox. Harper would certainly get the Dodgers closer to their ultimate goal, but it looks like it isn’t meant to be.
Then again, stranger things have happened.