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Jon Heyman: Dodgers Current Favorite To Sign Bryce Harper



Take the Dodgers current lineup, add Justin Turner, and pencil Bryce Harper somewhere in the outfield. Would you be on board for that? An interesting discussion is formed around would you be on board for that if it were at the expense of Clayton Kershaw? Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports sees this dream lineup as more than a possibility. In a recent article, Heyman handicapped the odds of the top eight teams in baseball that could sign Bryce Harper. He also included the field at 15 to 1. Your eyebrows should raise just a little, as Heyman lists the Dodgers as the number one team in the Harper sweepstakes at 3 to 1 odds.

The snippet had this to say:

L.A. re-set its tax rate, and we assume it’s for something special. They could use the money to keep Clayton Kershaw, of whom owner Mark Walter said he’d like to “make a Dodger for life.” 

Or they could sign Harper, who’s from Las Vegas, this winter, then Stephen Strasburg, who has the first of his two-opt outs next year. Dodgers president Stan Kasten was in Washington when both Harper and Strasburg were drafted.

Odds: 3-1

It becomes a bit less exciting on the surface as Heyman presents it as an either/or proposition for Los Angeles. The Dodgers are holding back a little money. Is the money to make Clayton Kershaw a Dodger for life? Or is it to build a new empire around Bryce Harper?

Harper enters the 2018 offseason as the most coveted free agent in baseball history. The 2018 offseason will feature the most star-studded class in the history of the game. Harper, Kershaw, Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson headline the list. There are a dozen other marquee players who will be available to instantly make a middling team into a contender.

The subject has been on our radar since early in the year. We asked if the Dodgers signing Harper would be a precursor to Clayton Kershaw opting out and signing in another city. This post is not about who you would rather have of the two; but raising awareness that the Dodgers are viewed as the team that will sign Harper. This is one of baseball’s most credible writers stating that the Dodgers are the favorite to sign the Nationals former MVP at press time.

Situations like this are so very fluid. Heyman lists the Nationals, Phillies, and Giants as the next three in line. The Chicago Cubs are listed a surprising sixth at 15 to 1. Others you may expect like the Yankees and Red Sox are even longer odds; at 25 to 1 and 50 to 1 respectively. The only real certainty at this point is this: Bryce Harper seems intent on testing the free agent market – and the Dodgers will have every opportunity at him if they so choose.

Envisioning Bryce Harper, Los Angeles Dodger

I am trying hard to picture Harper and where he fits with the current nucleus….. and I cannot manage to do it. Personal bias on retaining Clayton Kershaw asid, there are other considerations. Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager are represented by Harper’s agent, Scott Boras. They will each be up for their own record-size deal soon enough. I know that flags fly forever, and many Dodgers fans associate a Harper signing with hanging a World Series pennant next to ‘1988’ at Chavez Ravine. I don’t believe it’s quite that simple.

Questions about chemistry with Harper in the clubhouse can be debated at a later time. As can keeping the homegrown icon Kershaw versus signing baseball’s generational golden boy. The Dodgers are the frontrunner to haul baseball’s biggest fish onto their boat. Are you on board?

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Written by Staff Writer

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  1. The Dodgers can easily sign Kershaw and Harper. They only have $131 million guaranteed for 2019 and $88 for 2020. Say Harper and Kershaw go for a combined $80 million. They’ll blow out the cap in 2019, but in a relatively good spot with $170 million guaranteed. Add to that for arb and other players and they’re sitting ok. I say go for it. Dodgers are the closest team to Las Vegas and I imagine Harper would love to play for a franchise with major history.

    • Jon: does signing Kershaw + Harper concern you at all in terms of signing Bellinger and Seager to similar deals in a few years?

      • Maybe a little, but that’s relatively far off. Also noticed that Cot’s contracts has Kershaw opting in for 2019 and 2020, so the Dodgers would be at $125 million in 2020 plus arb and other players. By the time Seager and Bellinger become FAs in 2020, the only guaranteed contracts would be Harper, Kershaw and Maeda as of this moment. That would be well below $100 million. Extend Kershaw most importantly and offer Harper $425,000 over ten years.

  2. No one wants to say it, but let Kershaw walk if he wants too. I believe he has begun the backside of his career. Still one of the top pitchers in game, no doubt, but injuries and hone runs have started to consistently rear their ugly heads.

    • I would typically agree with you Don. There are concerns that when you pay Kershaw, you are paying more for past performance than future. But this is an icon in the city of Los Angeles. Kershaw sells tickets, merchandise, and is a true ‘event’ when he is on the mound every fifth day. There are not many living, inner circle Hall of Fame players walking around right now, but he is one. Is this enough to keep him? I wrestle with this.

    • You are right, and that’s why I don’t think he’ll opt out. Getting a better deal than what he has is unrealistic. What is realistic is the Dodgers extend his contract in some very creative way.

  3. No, I am not on board with getting Harper, too much money, too many years, negative personality mix, goes against philosophy of building from within and are his stats really THAT great?

    • Phenomenal, maybe even generational talent in Bryce Harper. But I wonder what it would do to our clubhouse, to be honest. There is that aspect always with any new acquisition. Thank you for raising this point, Daniel.

      • You are right, and that’s why I don’t think he’ll opt out. Getting a better deal than what he has is unrealistic. What is realistic is the Dodgers extend his contract in some very creative way.

  4. It’s hard to guess where the Dodgers go with things. Picking up Latos and Kazmir really puzzled people.

    • It’s been a while since they’ve picked up a Latos, Kazmir, Jose Lima type just for the sake of picking them up! I forgot (maybe I was trying) all about the Latos experiment. Thanks for bringing that memory back, Mike!

  5. Although Harper could be considered a once in a generation type player, I just don’t see it. His attitude is what will be his downfall, I guess that’s how the kids play the game these days. Kershaw will always be remembered as a iconic Dodger regardless if he finishes his career here or elsewhere. Committing long term at a huge cost would be a killer on the back end of the deal. Here’s a question for you, would the Dodger’s consider moving him before the deadline??

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