The Roadmap to Bryce Harper

Are the Dodgers in on Bryce Harper?  Yes, even Ray Charles can see that!  A better question is “Will the Dodgers really try to sign Bryce Harper?  The answer is the same answer I give when people as “Do you wear boxers or briefs?”  I say “Depends.” Bada Bing! But seriously… Bryce Harper has “IT” – the “IT FACTOR.”  He would be an instant fit for LA.Yes, the Doders will be in on Harper, but the odds are pretty long,which is why they are still in on Realmuto as well.  I am very, very high on Kaybear Ruiz, but if the Dodgers could extend JT, I would consider trading Ruiz in a deal for Realmuto.  The fact is:  I think Jeter and his Oraganization are a disaster and will be too self-absorbed to get a good return, just like they were with Stanton and Yelich.  I think they will hold out for an unrealistic return and miss the train.  Derek Jeter may have been a class act as a player, but he and his team are an unmitigated disaster for the Marlins.Yes, Andrew Friedman will try and deal for Harper, but I can’t see him going past 8 years and $240 million.  That won’t sit well with Scott Borasss, but I am not sure anyone is going much over that and Harper will have the world by the… tail, if he is in Hollywood.  So, there is a good chance the Dodgers will land Bryce Harper IF:
  1. The Price is Right (somewhere around $240 Million/8 Years… give or take); and
  2. They will have to move Alex Wood, Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig and either Rich Hill or Kenta Maeda to do so.
That may sound like a big deal, and it is… but it’s like $40 to $50 million in salary dumps.  I’d estimate that the Dodgers have to dump $35 million or more to do that.  If they can do that, then maybe Bryce Harper will be a Dodger because HE WANTS TO BE!  Bryce Harper is made for Hollywood… and Mannywood will becomeHarper’s Bazaar.  There are a lot of hoops to jump through on this, but if anyone can pull it off, Andrew Friedman can do it.The Dodgers may not get back a lot for Wood, Kemp, Joc, Puig and Hill or Maeda… mostly prospects, but if they can move their salaries, they can be players for Harper.  The problem is: to move Kemp, they will have to take back a bad contract, like Homer Bailey. They able won’t be able to spend much at catcher, but with Barnes returning to form, they might not need to.

This is what the team could look like:

  1. Bellinger  1B
  2. Muncy  2B (with 3 Gold Glove caliber infielders around him, Muncy can play 2B)
  3. Seager  SS
  4. Turner  3B
  5. Harper  LF
  6. Taylor  CF
  7. Verdugo  RF
  8. Barnes  C
  9. Toles – OF
  10. Hernandez – IF/OF
  11. Freese – LF/RF, 1B, 3B
  12. Smith – C – 3B
  13. Rios, 1B, 3B, LF
  14. Cingrani  LHP
  15. Ferguson – LHP
  16. Alexander LHP
  17. Dylan Floro  RHP
  18. Pedro Baez RHP
  19. Kelley RHP
  20. Jansen  RHP
  21. Kershaw
  22. Buehler
  23. Ryu
  24. Stripling
  25. Maeda or Hill (whoever is not traded)
  26. Kasowski, Chargois, Fields, Urias, Santana, Garcia, et al.
There’s one final problem: The Dodgers can’t unload all thise players and then NOT GET Bryce Harper which means that Friedman has a lot of balls in the air and there are lots of moving parts to these deals.  They all almost have to happensimultaneously. If I had to guess I would say the odds are against the Dodgers signing Bryce Harper… but stranger things have happened.

Odds and Ends

  • I mentioned a few days ago that the LAdodgerTalk.com community was growing by about 30 new subscriber a week.  Yesterday alone, there were 11 new signups!  Thank you to all the new fans of the best Dodger Blog in existance thanks to AC and DC and the best, most-informed, civilized Dodger fans on the planet.
  • Yasmani Grandal is still a possibility to return on a one-year deal… at a whole lot less than $17 million, but I think he will get a 2-year/$20 million deal… or better… elsewhere!
  • The Chicago Bears have once again become The  Monsters of the Midway… thanks in part to Chuckie, who gave them a player who has more sacks than the entire Raider team.
  • Of course, I live in Indianapolis, so I have to brag on my home teams…
  • If the 8-6 Colts make the playoffs… and they need help (Pittsburgh or Baltimore have to lose once between them), they are a team no one wants to face in the playoffs after their 23-0 beatdown of Dallas.
  • My Indiana Pacers are 20-10 and will challenge Toronto as the best in the East before season’s end.  What a fun TEAM (and I meanTEAM) to watch. Last season they went 0-8 without Victor Oladipo, this year when he missed 12 games, they went 8-4.
  • The Pacers hired the first Female Assistant GM, Kelly Krauskoph! (Image courtesy ofGetty Images)

This article has 55 Comments

  1. There are too many parts to fall into place for the Dodgers to sign Harper. Only Friedman knows. I am not that big of a fan of Harper anyway. I could be a fan, if the Dodgers sign him.

    1. If the Dodgers were to sign a free agent outfielder I would prefer it to be Pollock, a righty bat who plays good defense.

      1. They are looking at him and throughout his career, he has had pretty even splits between LH and RH pitching. Due to his age, I doubt that Friedman goes more than 3 years.

        1. Brantley got 2. I cannot see Pollock getting more than 3. Cutch got 3 and $50MM, so I would expect that Pollock would get 3 and around $42MM-$45MM . Just like with Harper, the Dodgers will lose a draft pick by signing Pollock.

          1. … and that may be then end of that idea. I don’t think Friedman has ever done that! Of course, they lose one for Harper too…

      2. Pollack is hurt 2 damn much sign Harper trade for kluber trade Kemp puig woods and hill if u can sign lamahue to play 2nd & use muncy as trade bait 2 get urself another bullpen arm cause don’t think muncy comes close 2 last year’s production

  2. In the past it seemed Harper wasn’t the sort that cared much for praise. That is unless it was about him, making it easy to have a disliking of him. But his numbers call for respect and that past seems back a ways. The Sherman Tank was not a great tank but respect came in it’s numbers also. Harper has the electricity to help win the war. The US had two new dams giving us 5 times the surplus power as the number two country giving the US it’s ability to produce the weapons to win the war. So I guess that puts me in the sign Harper group and I hope he makes a good team mate. Sure am glad we have Chase Utley at hand for exemplification. Again please excuse my A.D.D.

  3. Sign Harper trade away woods Kemp puig & hill get whatever just dump the money then trade make the trade 4 kluber if it takes muncy and top pitching prospect then do it & then go out n sign lamahue to play 2nd that’s ur world series winning team & don’t let the money stop u now when u really have the team 2 win it!!!!

  4. I agree that the Dodgers are looking to clear the books for a legit run at Harper. There is just too much “talk” for it to be just that. Too many people with connections say it is just a matter of time. Maybe so. I have not been shy about my misgivings on Bryce Harper. There is no question that he has the IT factor. Why else would fans be clamoring for a player who has had one phenomenal year, a couple of good years, and 3 years with a WAR of 1.5, 1.3, and 1.1 (including 2 out of the last three years). He is a Marvel Super Hero character as much as he is a very talented baseball player. But worth $300MM+? Or even $240MM for 8 years as Mark has proposed?
    .
    I do not think that Harper is a 1.5 WAR player, but I also do not believe he is a 10 WAR player. 2015 was an anomaly. Just as 2013 was for Yasiel Puig. Fans keep holding on to what Yasiel was in 2013 and asking what if he does get back to that 2013 level? Then he would be on his way to HOF, and yet he is not. Harper is better than Puig offensively. Much better. But not defensively. I have no idea what Harper will do in LA, but I also have no doubt that he can never live up to the Boras Hype. He is nowhere close to the level of his idol, Mickey Mantle.
    .
    IMO, the Dodgers have had Bryce Harper once before, except he went by the name of Matt Kemp. Injuries took their toll on Matt, and what is to say that injuries will not derail Harper. Kemp did not have the power of Harper, but Harper does not have the defense of a healthy Kemp. I do remember Kemp being best player in the Game for a bit. And now we are talking about dumping his salary to make room for Harper. There is no doubt that Harper will be where Kemp is now, and the only question will be, how many more years of a bloated contract must the Dodgers eat?
    .
    Harper has been bigger than life since he was in high school. He is deserving more than what he would get just for baseball, because he does add to the Game. But where is the ceiling? How many years of $30MM+ are you willing to eat for 3-4-5 plus to plus plus years of Bryce Harper? How many of Seager/Bellinger/Buehler will not be signed because the Dodgers have Harper. They may be able to sign one and possibly two, but not all three. Is he worth gutting the depth of the team? To some yes. I would rather have had Corey Kluber, but you need two willing teams for a trade. To sign a FA, you just need a LOT of money.
    .
    If I was convinced that Harper was the one missing player to make the Dodgers WS champs I would say that it is worth whatever the cost. But Harper was on an at least as talented of a team as the Dodgers, and yet the Nationals never won a playoff series, including losing to the Dodgers in 2016.
    .
    All that said, I am exactly where Al is. I am not a big Harper fan, but if he becomes a Dodger I will buy his jersey and proudly where it.

  5. Well put as usual AC… As usual I’ll just say I’m not holding my breath or praying at night for Mr. Harper. If he falls in our lap, so be it…
    I am quite nervous of the thought of getting Arrenado next year giving a King’s ransom to one Michael Trout… Always been a dreamer , always will…
    Thanks also for mentioning the Mick… I don’t think Harper could carry his bat bag…
    Good God, One town, 3 OF’s by the name of the Mick, Willy and the Duke…Not fair is it!??!
    Looking at my ST tickets and hope to God the back will hold out… I think going to the back fields will be out, but just getting there makes me happy… St. Patty’s day against the Brew Crew and 2 nights later the Indians… Sweet..

  6. The Dodgers have only one year left for Kemp, Hill, Wood, Ryu, and Puig. That’s about $74M. I wouldn’t mind keeping Wood, albeit with him not throwing his gum onto the infield for someone to pick up with hand or shoe, but moving Hill, and Puig works for me. Verdugo gets a place to play in RF and Kemp and Pederson get to make the best platoon in baseball.
    .
    If Harper and Boras think $35M+ for each of the next 10 years will be earned, then accept incentives to get to that salary. $15M base, $5M for elected to start All-Star game, $5M for reaching 500 PAs, $5M for reaching 600PAs, $10M for MVP.

  7. I must say Mark is probably correct about Jeter and the Miami organization, if they want to make up for the poor returns they got for the trades they made last year then the Dodgers and any other team should just walk away. If the Dodgers think Ruiz is going to be an above average player and he will be ready to play for the Dodgers next year than losing him and a group of very good prospects for just 2 years of Realmuto to me is the wrong move.

  8. I vote no on Harper, and have expressed my opinion before. He has his fans in Las Vegas but also his detractors. I think it is very telling that the Nats with a loaded team and Harper have never been a factor in the playoffs. He will add excitement in the fan base and merchandise and ticket sales, not convinced he is the missing link. On the other hand I never liked LeBron James that much until I could watch him play a lot with the Lakers and now I am on board, best move they have made in years. There is a chance the team clears payroll and gets left at the alter by Boras and that gives me pause. The guys shipped out would make the team a lot weaker for 2019 if no Harper. It is a delicate balancing act and Boras almost never signs early so this could drag on for awhile. I am not going to stress over it as it’s out of my control. I am getting the feeling they will do less than the fans want this off season but then some want an All Star at every position and those types of teams rarely win it all. There is always a need for young players to come up and fill spots for long term payroll considerations. I would not upset the long term team plans for a guy like Harper. Most of the players mentioned as salary dumps are worth more to the Dodgers, even for 1 year than what they would get back for them.

    1. Vegas: I have a handful of reasons for being on the
      anti-Harper side, and finally someone mentioned a key:
      yes, it’s an unusually structured “team” sport in that the
      heart of the action is one-on-one.

      But, still, a team game. And Bryce was a key cog in arguably the
      most disappointing team in the last half-decade. A chunk of that
      failure belongs to him.

      Additionally, when Joe Maddon inaugurated the “Bryce-will-not-beat-
      me” free pass routine, (aka “Wussie-Ball), the kid got lost for a good
      while. Not sure he has entirely found himself to this day.

      PS: the cure for Maddon-like non-competitive cowardice? Any hitter can
      turn down a walk any time. And/or: second time any hitter is walked in a
      game, he gets two bases. Wanna walk him again, Joe? Three bases.
      Games should be fun, should be best against best each and every moment.
      The “winning-is-the-only-thing” mopes, among management and fan bases,
      need strong reminders of that.

      1. He is more of a rifle but due to the movement on all his pitches, maybe Gene would be a better nickname.

  9. The Astros are back in the mix for the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto. Top prospect Kyle Tucker remains a target for a potential deal. The Padres also have interest, along with Dodgers Rays and more. Hard to say if there is a frontrunner at this point. Multiple teams involved.

  10. I have been a regular reader of this great site for several years but never commented. I just wanted to say thanks for some really good insight and well though out posts. I seem to almost always agree with AC and really like his logic. I had to comment just this once because his analysis is so close what I think. I have been a Dodger fan since 1956 and was pretty excited when then moved to LA, where I lived as a kid, because I thought they found out I lived then and wanted to be near me!!
    Harper is far over rated and his statistics support that. Not only is he inconsistent offensively but below average defensively and a potential problem in the clubhouse. Why pay a fortune for that when we already have Kemp and are trying to get rid of him? We would have the Harper anchor around our neck for years to come. I also think the Miami catcher and the Rockies second baseman are not worth the effort. I see better in-house options for both positions and those options are younger with a chance to improve. The Dodgers have enough on their current roster to make a run with one more solid bullpen arm and the addition of Kluber would be the final piece (but even he is not needed if we trade key players- please let Verdugo start).
    The Red Sox beat us in the World Series simply because all their players were hot at the same time. When a team has that kind of destiny there is not much you can do about it. Don’t tear up the Dodgers because they got beat by a team that simply couldn’t loose. There is no reason the Dodgers couldn’t do the same thing with what they have. Dump salary is needed (not need for Kemp/Joc and 20 starting pitchers, even thought we always seem to need them because of injury) but stay with the young core and make your changes at the trade deadline during the season when we actually know what is needed. I love reading the comments and thanks for the site.

    1. Welcome aboard. I appreciate your takes as long as you don’t agree with AC all the time. It goes to his head!
      😉

    2. Ken – totally agree with your take above, especially your scepticism towards Harper. He hasn’t trained on, and I’m not sure he will.
      As others have opined, why tie ourselves to him. I agree with Bobby & others on that.
      I’m with Rudy – save the dough to bring Nolan home next off season.

      I disagree with one point though, and that is that we are ready to go into battle again with what we have.
      There is a massive hole in the middle of the lineup that was filled after the TD by Machado.
      I know he wasn’t all we had hoped, but if we are being honest with ourselves, we wouldn’t have made the WS without him.
      Throughout the playoffs it was only really when Turner & Machado were due up that I actually expected something to happen. No one else inspired any real optimism, although Joc did very well against RH pitching.

      Assuming Verdugo is gonna start regularly, there has to be a question mark there, because he is a rookie after all.
      What of Corey? Can we expect him to perform as before?
      Does anyone confidently predict an upturn for Cody?
      CT3, Kike, Puig & Kemp, all come under the hope they do better, rather than they will do better.
      Big Max repeating last years heroics?
      And what about Barnes? Not at all sure he will rebound.
      The only lock for me is Turner, the rest are all flaky.
      I don’t know the statistics, but I’m sure we couldn’t have hit .200 as a team in the WS, against decent pitching.
      All season long the Offense struggled to hit consistently.
      The point I’m making is that our Offense minus Machado doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. There are far too many with question marks hanging over them.
      For me, unless we address the lack of a RH thumper in the middle of the lineup, we will come up short again.

      1. The Dodgers hit .180 in the World Series, while the Red Sox blasted a torrid .222!

        That is a major reason why the Dodgers totally redid their hitting department.

        Manny Machado hit .182 in the World Series. Even the guy everybody loves to hate (Grandal) did better than that.

        1. Someone I’m very fond of predicted the likelihood that Manny would struggle
          on the biggest stage, the day he was acquired.

          Wonder where he’s gone? The 20-20 Foresight Hall of Fame?:-):-):-)

      2. What about signing Machado, moving JT to 2B, and trading Muncy, Wood, Smith or Ruiz for Realmuto? Then Then we would have Joc/Kemp LF, CT3/Bellinger CF, Puig/Verdugo RF, Machado/Frazier 3B, Seager/CT3 SS, JT/Kike 2B, Bellinger/Frazier 1B, and Realmuto/Barnes C. You would have twelve position players, and thirteen pitchers. While Machado will be expensive, he is a gamer as Watford said, Kemp and Doc could help him keep his attitude in line.

      3. Watford: Again, much agreement from my house!

        I was a skeptic last year, and thought high 80s win total was
        realistic in the spring. They won 91 of the 162, a wee better,
        but a baker’s dozen less than 2017.

        They once again SEEM to be working with financial constraints.
        They can’t buy extra transactions at the previous insane rate
        (yes, they hit big on Muncy and Taylor, but in how many attempts?).

        As you point out, still lotsa questions with this roster. And, like you,
        my guess right now would be a little short of champ level, even if
        they do corral Harper.

      4. Watford

        I agree with you, that we wouldn’t have made it to the World Series last year without Manny.

        But take a look at what Manny did against righties as a Dodger last year.

        His numbers against righties were average, or below.

        I think Corey will easily surpass Manny’s numbers against righties in 2019.

        I have always thought we need another good hitter in this line up beyond Turner and Seager, like you are talking about.

        But I think we need more then just a rightie power bat.

        We need a good hitter with power, that can adjust to the different situations, in games.

        Hopefully these new hitting coaches, can straighten some of these hitters out, like Mark is talking about.

        But I know it isn’t going to be that easy for some, or we would have seen more adjustments by now.

        But I am giving these hitting coaches a chance to see what they can do.

  11. Hello, I am part of the new site traffic although I took a break after the World Series because I was very flustrated with the result. I am a journalism major at SDSU and I’m looking to get in to sports broadcasting or writing. Do the writers on this site have media credentials? Is that how they get quotations from miner league players in there profiles? I know you can’t use quotations from other sources without citing them. So then when I read miner league reviews here that means you sent a writer to a location to interview that player? I’m asking because I’m curious about the business of Sports Blogging and I’m looking to get my start somewhere. I read a great interview of a miner league player a few weeks back and I tried to trace back where the quotations came from. I want to use them in a college essay I am writing. Thank you.

    1. We have no media credentials and I am obviously not a journalist. However, I used to have credentials… I just did not renew them. I was actually the first blogger to sit in the Pressbox at Dodger Stadium, years ago.
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic
      We are always looking for writers. We will consider your work… but AC and DC set the bar pretty high. Me? Not so much!

      I presume you mean “Minors.”

      BTW, you write a lot like CurdyBuff…

      and TylerDurden

      and dionysis

      and John Shade…

      Is your other name Sybil?

  12. Cubs picked up 32 year old LHH utility inf/of Daniel Descalso. Cost – 2 years, $5MM, with a reasonable $3.5MM option for 2021 with a $1MM buyout. That is a pretty good pickup for the Cubs. Descalso has done some damage to the Dodgers.

      1. I just heard that expression yesterday on a talk show I watch.

        People that have never run a business are typically the ones who argue that fiscal responsibility doesn’t matter.

    1. While I tend to agree with the message it is an very incomplete view of the luxury tax and it’s penalties especially for big market repeat offenders.

      1. It is those repeat offender penalties with the loss of draft choices that make this more of a cap than it first seems

    1. Zach Lee was a good kid. He might have been a great QB, but he loved baseball more. Here’s an old interview I did with him:

      1. Thanks Mark. I was always hoping Lee was going to be special but then when he finally pitched for the Dodgers it was, “What the heck? Where’s the fastball?” He looked terribly uncomfortable. Hopefully he will have better luck down the road.

      2. I think he loved the $5 million signing bonus more. I went and watched him pitch for the Loons when they were playing the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

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