The slow-moving free agency market recently saw a significant change as one of the best players available, Manny Machado, reportedly inked a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres.
With Machado off the board, all eyes are now shifted towards Bryce Harper as he looks to beat Machado’s $300 million, which to this point is the largest free agent contract in the history of North American sports.
A number of teams have shown interest in Harper this winter. That includes the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants. Even after signing Machado, the Padres may still have some interest in Harper as well.
The Giants were believed to be interested in signing Harper to a short-term contract, although all signs indicate that Harper is unwilling to do that.
San Francisco continues to be in the running for the 26-year-old so they may now be willing to give him the 10 years he is looking for. Even with that though, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports that they are not that optimistic that they will land Harper:
The #SFGiants are telling people they are trying hard for Harper (this likely debunks the short-term theory for them, as it’s known Harper isn’t signing short-term deal). However, people who have spoken to SF brass said they aren’t necessarily overly optimistic.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 20, 2019
The Phillies are still considered the favorite to sign him after it came out last week that talks were ‘intensified’ between the two sides.
One team that has not been showing interest in Harper is the Los Angeles Dodgers. If Harper were to sign with the Giants, then that would mean that the two biggest free agents on the market both ended up signing with National League West teams.
Even if that happened, the Dodgers would still be the heavy favorite to win the division in 2019. It would put pressure on the front office and ownership to make moves down the road though.