The Bryce Harper free agency saga has dragged on into the second week of Spring Training, with the superstar outfielder still unsigned. While it appeared that the Philadelphia Phillies were heavily favored to sign Harper, the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be making a late push after a meeting in Las Vegas.
After former Dodger Manny Machado signed a $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres, the bar was seemingly set for the Phillies and Harper. Though, the Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals have all been involved to varying degrees as well.
Before last weekend, it appeared that the Dodgers had exited the Harper sweepstakes after signing outfielder A.J. Pollock. Their sudden re-entry into the Harper bidding has some on the Phillies concerned, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi:
Bryce Harper update: Some #Phillies officials have grown concerned Harper will sign with the #Dodgers if they make an offer that comes close to Philly’s. The ability to play close to home and train in Arizona both appeal to Harper, who is a @Lakers fan. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) February 26, 2019
Whenever the Dodgers have been linked to Harper this winter, their interest was always reported to be a short-term deal. That is still believed to be their preference. However, Harper and agent Scott Boras already reportedly turned down a $300 million long-term offer to re-sign with the Nationals, and want the Phillies to top that deal.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, meanwhile, said on Monday that the team is not “too hopeful” after meeting with Harper.
However, the Dodgers may be more motivated to enter the bidding for Harper now. Potential future free-agent target Nolan Arenado has reportedly agreed to an eight-year contract extension with the Colorado Rockies.
Additionally, Clayton Kershaw is still battling a mysterious shoulder injury after getting his own lucrative contract extension this offseason.