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.
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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