The Bryce Harper sweepstakes might have just become a lot more interesting.
Despite reports the Philadelphia Phillies were nearing an agreement with the free-agent outfielder, it now appears the Los Angeles Dodgers have re-entered the ring and remain a suitor.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reported early Monday morning that members of the Dodgers’ brass were seen in Las Vegas, where Harper lives, Sunday to meet with the slugger. And despite indications the Phillies might be in the lead for Harper, Jon Heyman reported Monday there are still at least five teams still in contention for the superstar.
It’s hard to say how serious those teams are in Harper, but his agent, Scott Boras, certainly would benefit from trying to make it seem like there’s more interest in his clients than there actually might be. That’s not to take anything from Heyman’s reporting, but it’s interesting to note the timing of such a report when Team Harper is probably trying to get the most out of any final offer from a team like the Phillies.
The Dodgers’ interest, however, seems legitimate — why else would they go to Vegas? — and it presents an interesting choice for Harper. He’s believed to be chasing a long-term, big-money deal. The Dodgers would have no problem generating the latter, but Los Angeles reportedly doesn’t want to commit to a long-term deal for Harper or anyone, really. So any offer from the Dodgers would have to be worth more per season if it’s going to be a shorter-term offer.
The Dodgers present an intriguing option for Harper. The two-time defending National League champions would offer the 26-year-old not only a chance to contend for a World Series title in the short term but also the opportunity to play in a big market for a cornerstone franchise like the Dodgers seems like it would be very tempting for a big personality like Harper.