Oddsmakers have a way of getting fans excited for things that aren’t even close to happening yet. And don’t you know it, they’ve done it again. Bovada came out with early odds on signing impending free agent Bryce Harper in the offseason, and the list looks about how you might expect. The Dodgers rank second in odds at signing the superstar.
What team will Bryce Harper sign with this offseason? Odds via @BovadaOfficial:
Red Sox +900
Giants +1500 pic.twitter.com/1XulxzvOAi
— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) September 19, 2018
The list of potential free agents in the upcoming offseason is jaw-dropping, Names like Kershaw, Machado, Heyward, Price, and Keuchel top the list. Bryce Harper may be one of the biggest names out there though, and he is not in an opt-out year, he is actually at the end of his contract. Harper’s 3.1 WAR ranks higher than any other outfielder on the 2019 free agent list.
The Cubs make the most sense for Harper, given his close friendship with Kris Bryant. If Jason Heyward uses his opt-out after 2018, the Harper is almost certain to end up in Chicago. He likely will not though, as leaving $100m+ in guaranteed money is fairly risk heading into his age-29 season.
The Dodgers could also be a fit for Harper, but mostly just because they have the money to pay him. The outfield situation looks to be crowded for the foreseeable future until Yasiel Puig is eligible for free agency in 2020. Of course, the team could make room for him if they absolutely wanted him. They might be able to find a team willing to take on Matt Kemp and some money for a prospect or two. That would likely leave Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Bryce Harper as the everyday outfielders.
The question is, do fans want him? Harper has his own style of play that many around baseball aren’t too crazy about. But he also brings with him 25+ home runs a year and a career .279/.288/.513 slash line. He isn’t exactly finishing out his contract year strong hitting .247, but he’s managed to hit 34 home runs.
Free agent odds always seem somewhat arbitrary and often a little bit weird, but this list is actually probably pretty accurate. There are plenty of things that will impact those odds between now and the end of the season. Teams may sign other players before him, and contract offers could come out of the woodwork. Players that have opt-outs may not even exercise them. Keep an eye on the Dodgers and what they do with Clayton Kershaw, Yasmani Grandal, Brian Dozier, and Manny Machado. Those four will certainly play a role in the Dodgers decision making in regards to Harper.
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