After remaining below the $197 million luxury tax threshold and therefore resetting their penalties, the Los Angles Dodgers were expected by many to be much more aggressive in free agency this winter.
If speculation was any indication, they are sure to sign or trade for at least one marquee player. Thus far, the Dodgers have been linked to Bryce Harper, Corey Kluber and J.T. Realmuto, among others.
The most unlikely of that trio may be Harper, as he’s widely expected to sign one of, if not the, richest contracts in American sports history. Harper reportedly rejected a 10-year, $300 million extension from the Washington Nationals late in the season.
The Dodgers nonetheless have interest in the 26-year-old and could become more of a factor should his market shrink, according to David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:
“They’re interested. I’m not sure they are interested at 10 or 12 years. I think the Dodgers are keeping tabs on it. They are staying close to the situation to see whether or not his market falls out. And if it does and he doesn’t exceed the Giancarlo Stanton contract, the Dodgers may be waiting there to pick up the pieces for a shorter-term deal.”
While addressing reporters from the Winter Meetings, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made it clear they do not consider Harper a viable option. Cashman cited the Yankees’ outfield depth, which also applies to the Dodgers.
However, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman previously acknowledged the excess of outfielders could be used in a trade to address another need on the roster. In terms of Harper, Los Angeles reportedly claimed him off waivers in August and attempted to facilitate a trade that included Yasiel Puig.
Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten has loos ties to Harper as he was with the Nationals when they selected him with the first overall pick in the 2010 Draft.