The Los Angeles Dodgers have been constantly on the Bryce Harper back burner, but they don’t feel like spending over $300 million.
Phenom Bryce Harper isn’t signing anytime soon. With several teams in on him, one of significance is the Dodgers. They are one of the clubs that continue to come up in the conversation for the 26-year-old. We all know that he’s from the Las Vegas area, and signing with the Dodgers would put him closer to home. The team reportedly met with Harper already. He, of course, is on their wish list but could be a longshot. LA has had an outfield logjam for what seems like an eternity, and they also don’t want to be over the luxury tax for a while. Though they did just unload some big-time contracts in Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp.
According to a report, the Dodgers aren’t interested in a long-term deal. But, they could be open to a short-term contract. That puts the team as longshots and not entirely out. Maybe Harper would take a deal where he could opt out early and take high AAV? He could be back on the market at 30. Let’s see what that could look like.
Harper’s career WAR so far is 30.7, which is obviously one of the best in the league. His monetary value in his major league career with 2018 included is $235.6 million. Just last year he was worth $27.8 million, which wasn’t even his best season. In translation, a decent year of Harper will cost a team upwards of $30 million. Right now, that’s the base salary teams are mulling on. The teams in the conversation must be offering that or higher to be even considered.
The Dodgers always have the cash, it’s just a matter if they want to spend their funds. The club could definitely make a short-term deal work this offseason. LA has already inked a key free agent in reliever Joe Kelley, who beat them on the Boston Red Sox. In any Harper contract, there will most likely be several opt-outs.
If the Harper does take a short-term deal, the AAV will have to be record-setting. The Dodgers are one of the teams that could offer that. To be in the conversation, LA would probably be shelling out $40 million per year. A three or four-year deal is the most probable contract length the team would go. Also, an opt-out after the first and second year is another part of the contract. That would let Harper have another huge season and cash in even more on a long-term deal.
A realistic contract offer would be 3-year/$120 million or 4-year/$160 million with opt-outs after years 1 and 2. If the Dodgers do somehow ink Harper, a move to follow would be trading a player or two from Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson, or Yasiel Puig. LA has already had conversations with teams on all three at certain points this offseason. A Harper signing would signal an all in mentality, which should pin the club finally trading a top prospect to go get a top caliber starting pitcher. Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer may be less available, but it’s hard to imagine the Cleveland Indians passing up Alex Verdugo.