Posted on February 1, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
February has arrived and the start of spring training is fast approaching. However, some of the top free agents heading into the offseason remain unsigned, most notably the biggest fish in the pond, Bryce Harper. Some of the favorites at the start of the offseason like the Dodgers and Yankees appear to be out of the running, which has opened the door for some unlikely teams. Recent speculation has Harper’s market down to four teams. Let’s take a look at Harper’s odds of signing with each team.
Nationals – 15%
The Nationals appeared to have made peace with Harper signing elsewhere. However, the most recent reports say that they are one of the four teams still actively in contact with him. The Nationals are in no way in need of an outfielder with youngsters like Juan Soto and Victor Robles ready to take over Washington’s outfield. However, with big clubs like the Dodgers and Yankees out of the running, Harper may feel more comfortable staying with the Nationals, espcially if he wants to take a shorter contract and try free agency again in a year or two.
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Padres – 15%
The Padres have emerged as a possibility late in the game. The club met with Harper earlier this week, and their interest appears to be genuine and serious. Much like the Nationals, the Padres don’t need an outfielder, although signing Harper would give them a couple of good trade chips. San Diego is still rebuilding, but they’re poised to improve in the next couple of years, so Harper would have a chance to win relatively soon. The Padres also have Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer, so it’s not as if Harper would be alone in San Diego’s lineup. It’s worth asking if the Padres have the money to sign Harper after giving Hosmer a big contract last winter. But they wouldn’t be talking to him if they didn’t have a way to make it happen.
Phillies – 40%
The Phillies have been pushing hard to get either Harper or Manny Machado all winter. They would be crushed not to get at least one of them, so it stands to reason that they will make sure they have the highest offer to Harper. Again, the Phillies aren’t desperate for an outfielder, especially after adding Andrew McCutchen early in the offseason. But they will gladly worry about an overcrowded outfield later. One thing to remember about the Phillies is that they aren’t going to bow out of the race. When it’s time for teams to make their final offer to Harper, they’ll make sure they make a competitive offer.
White Sox – 25%
Outside the Phillies, the White Sox have probably had the most consistent interest in Harper this offseason. They are also more desperate for an outfielder than any other team in the running. Currently, the White Sox are still rebuilding, but they have the makings of a solid core, and Harper would certainly add to that. The club made a strong push around the Winter Meetings but now appear to be more interested in Machado. However, they shouldn’t be counted out of the Harper sweepstakes just yet.
The Field – 5%
There are still rumblings of a team or two outside of these four still showing interest in Harper. It’s possible that one of them makes a late push and makes him the best offer. However, all indications are, at least right now, that one of the four teams listed above will be the one to sign Harper.