In most professional sports, when the free agency period starts, the best players tend to come off the board first with big money contracts. Following the top guys are the role players who often get signed within the first few weeks of the offseason. As the beginning of the season draws near, the veteran holdouts take the best deal still being offered.
But that has not been the case for Major League Baseball the last couple of seasons. It seems like the more significant the name, the longer the player goes without being signed. That was the case for J.D. Martinez last year and appears to be what is happening with Bryce Harper this year.
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The young, hard-hitting outfielder entered the offseason with big expectations for his next contract; he thought it would easily be something in the $30+million a season range and $300+ million over the life of the deal.
But now that spring training has begun, it isn’t looking so good. It is not crystal clear whether the ten-year $300 million offer the Nationals made is still on the table or if Harper wants to return to the team that drafted him.
However, there is one thing that is clear. He is going to need to sign with someone if he wants to get paid at all. According to the rumor mill, Harper could be getting ready to sign with someone soon or might even be finalizing a deal. But until we see him in camp wearing someone’s practice jersey, it’s just rumor.
But, according to the rumor mill, he could be signing soon.
The Odds – Where Will Bryce Harper Play In 2019?
With spring training in progress, it only makes sense that guys, players and executives alike, bite the bullet and make the best deal they can. Rumor has it that Harper is preparing to celebrate, but oddsmakers don’t think he is going where the rumor mill does.
According to BetOnline.ag as of February 12:
- San Francisco Giants +100 (1/1)
- San Diego Padres +250 (5/2)
- Philadelphia Phillies +400 (4/1)
- Los Angeles Dodgers +750 (15/2)
- Washington Nationals +1000 (10/1)
Several reports have made it sound like there is significant interest between Harper and the Giants, but that the Giants are not interested in a long-term deal. They are open to giving him a high annual salary but not for the next decade.
It is not hard to understand where the Giants are coming from if that is true. While Harper has been phenomenal in the early years of his career, he is not the most consistent. One could argue that he is just now entering his prime and has ten great years or more coming.
But he could just maintain the status quo—and that is not worth the money he wants. That is why the Giants and Dodgers are said to have offered him short term deals. They don’t want to get locked into a long-term contract only to see his production drop off in Year Five and never come back.
Tack on reports that Harper doesn’t even want to consider a short-term deal, and the chance he’ll sign with the Giants or Dodgers are slim.
As for the Padres, unless they are going to back up a fleet of Brink’s trucks to his bank, it is hard to imagine Harper signing with them. They could use him and would be more competitive with him. But they would still be far from being a competitive team.
That leaves the Phillies and the Nationals.
The Prediction – MLB Betting Tip
The Nationals have made him a good offer and are in a position to be competitive for years to come, much like they have been since acquiring Harper. The deal they proposed fit the minimum parameters Harper wanted, but who wants to settle for the minimum?
There has been no reason to think the deal has been increased.
Philadelphia has been said to be the favorite for months. With the money they have had to spend beefing up their roster it is not hard to see why. But if they were going to spend it on Harper wouldn’t they have made him a deal he can’t refuse by now?
Most of the rumors claim the Phillies are about to sign the deal which would make them the smart bet. But throw a couple of bucks on the Nationals just in case.