If Bryce Harper Wants to be a Dodger… he WILL be!

The real question is “Does he want to be a Dodger?” The Dodgers will want him if he truly wants that. I am not sure what a deal looks like, but between Borasssss and Friedman, they can figure it out. While I am not a big Bryce Harper fan, I believe that Bryce Harper could go down in history as one of the All-Time Great Dodgers… if not THE All-Time Great Dodger!

But… it’s going to take lot of creativity. Borassss wants Harper to get the biggest All-Time Deal and Friedman is loathe to give out that kind of deal (and I am glad he is). There can be a compromise to give both parties what they want… probably in ways I have never imagined. Harper just has to tell Borasss to make it so.

I am not a Harper fan… but he is good… and he just might be better in LA. I am not against signing him, but it’s going to take something very unusual for that to happen. I have no clue what that might be, but it’s not my job to figure it out. Friedman and Borass can do that just fine.

Will the Dodgers be a better team with Harper? I think so. A Harper signing could precipitate trades which might net Kluber or Bauer. The players to be traded could be different from what you think.

Look at this lineup:

  1. Pollock CF
  2. Seager SS
  3. Turner 3B
  4. Harper LF
  5. Bellinger 1B
  6. Hernandez 2B
  7. Verdugo RF
  8. Martin/Barnes C

That means that Taylor, Pederson and Muncy could be traded… or not. I prefer Bauer, but AC likes Kluber, so I’ll take either one. But, all of this is conjecture because it is rumored that the Phillies have offered him over $300 million. How can he walk away from that “real money?” Maybe Friedman defers it over 25 years?

Rants & Raves

  • Kershaw is not injured. Are you kidding me? Get the MRI and get the knife. Clayton can finish next year and the year after. Get the surgery. We all knew this was coming. If I am wrong, the MRI should show it, but MRI’s are not as effective on shoulders.
  • Turner, Castro and Beaty all look hot. Mostly a bunch of AA and AAA and AAAA pitchers throttled the Cubs yesterday. Spring Training generally doesn’t mean much, but these guys have came out snarling!
  • Since RVS became hitting coach, the Dodgers are averaging over 10 runs a game. Yeah, that is what will happen all season. 😉
  • Lux is doing nothing to dispel that he is a top prospect.
  • Garlick stinks… at least so far. I had to work that in.
  • Russ Martin has had a level swing for a long time… since the beginning. This could be a “come to Jesus” season for him with RVS and launch angle. I am telling you: He is the Comeback Player of the Year. Yippie Kaaaayyy Ayyyyyyeee!

This is short and sweet as I am heading to Temecula from Irvine. 2Demeter, e-mail me your contact info at mark@uswatersystems.com Bobby, do the same. I can’t guarantee it, but I will try.

This article has 87 Comments

  1. Your feelings on Harper are the same as mine. Will root for him and I think he could be very good. I just do not like the arrogance, but most good players are arrogant to some degree. I agree that if Harper wants to be a Dodger, he will be a Dodger.

    I do not think Taylor will be traded. He is the insurance policy for Seager. He can also sub in the outfield. Muncey and Joc would be expendable. However, I could see the Dodgers keeping both of them.

    Kershaw needs to find out what is wrong.

    Boy, do I love to watch the farm kids in ST. I know it is early, but we have some good players.

  2. I will guess that the longer the Harper contract or should I say the longer the years before the first opt out, the larger the probability that Verdugo is traded. If for no other reason than Verdugo has more controllable years than Joc there are teams that would rather have Verdugo. If Harper can opt out in 3 years then then there is more of a reason to keep Verdugo and his longer team control.

    Lux could be ready to fill in for Seager now so along with Hernandez there is a chance Taylor could be traded.

    I don’t like to propose trades once Spring Training begins but if Harper is signed and with Kershaw in limbo, there is more of a chance the Dodgers will try to trade for an Ace. Salary wise, that trade could include Hill and Maeda in addition to lower cost controllable players like Muncy and Verdugo.

    Hang on, we are going for a ride this week.

    1. Didn’t mean to suggest both Hernandez and Taylor could be traded. Instead, I meant that both Lux and Hernandez could fill in for Seager.

    2. If Harper happens I fully expect Joc to go to the White Sox like it’s been rumored. Verdugo could be used in a Cleveland deal but I think Cleveland cleared off the salary they wanted to and that ship may have sailed.

  3. The Dodgers tend to be conservative in promoting minor leaguers to the MLB level. Lux is young, but looking like a real player. What a luxury! The sample size is still small and they don’t feel in a rush to make any major changes to their philosophy. Should they? I wouldn’t mind seeing some creative moves from the FO. Look at Muncy. Bingo.

    I also don’t think the Dodgers are committed to Verdugo and would use him in a trade willingly to bring in another OFielder or pitcher. Problem is his $value is low so including him in a trade would only be wishful thinking for another team to want him. He has no real proven track record. It would be like trading a prospect. He will not be a HOF’er. Keeping Joc may be inevitable but that’s not so bad as a 4th Ofielder. If Pollock provides us with a bonafide leadoff batter, we will be off to the races. Can Taylor play RF?

  4. My thoughts: If Kershaw goes under the knife, then it increases the likelihood that the Dodgers make a serious attempt to sign Harper. It would be a good way to keep the fans at bay and avoid a public relations disaster.

    If Harper is signed, what then? Pederson traded (Roberts has stated that he sees a much more mature player in camp). Verdugo traded? What is the possible return? I would expect it would be a package deal of sorts. Perhaps including Maeda. From my perspective he seems to be the odd man out, even though he is right-handed. Might he bring a bigger return because of his favorable contract?

    Probably none of this happens, but it will keep us engaged with speculation for the next week or so. Then once Harper signs with the Rangers, Tigers or some other unforeseen team, we’ll think what the heck, glad he didn’t sign with us. When it’s springtime in Arizona, I love it!!

  5. Arenado – Reported 8 years $260MM extension. He appears to be a Rockie thruout his career. Reported opt out after 3 years. Good for Nolan.

    1. great for Nolan, yes. Great contract, well earned.

      And I said this last week and I”ll say it again: IF our plan all along was waiting until 2020 to sign Arrenado, and now that plan is out the window, perhaps that is the reason we’re back in on Harper.

      1. They always wanted Arenado, and so did I, but now that is off the short/long term table and we have a pitching situation that does not look good long term. Better grab Harper as we have some studs in prospects. I feel really good about the kids coming up, and I also feel like it’s a NEW era after dumping those last 2 years. It’s on!!

  6. You know I wanted Kluber all along. It is undoubtedly too little too late now. The time to plan for a Kershaw injury was in the off-season, not ST. IF (and I emphasize IF) he goes under the knife for his shoulder with the amount of mileage on that arm/shoulder he will never be the Clayton we all know and love. Regardless of the outcome, I am happy with his extension.
    The Dodgers are built to live with the loss of Kershaw. I have no idea what Ace will become available, but I am not in the least enamored with Keuchel, and I hope AF does not bite and go for him. I would not be against a back end rotation guy for 1 year like Gio Gonzalez. Let’s at least plan on the next SP going down. I also would not mind if they signed Clay Buchholz to a minor league contract.
    I am in the same boat as MT on Harper. He would undoubtedly make the team better, but is that where you would want to invest $35-$40MM for 5-10 years? There would absolutely be a return on that investment financially to offset a portion of that salary (maybe enough to offset the expected 2019 luxury tax??). Next year the team gets way under the CBT threshold, so 2018 is the only year the luxury tax would be expected, until Seager/Bellinger/Urias/Buehler reach FA status.
    I am no longer in the camp that says the FO will not sign Harper. It is certainly plausible. I still will not endorse it as I do not think Harper is the be all end all difference maker. He is not Mike Trout. But he will bring excitement to the team. He does have the ability to carry a team on his back, and criticism seems to just wash off. Criticism is something Puig could never get over.
    I also agree with Mark that if Harper wants to be a Dodger both Boras and AF can find a way to make it happen. They are both financially creative geniuses. He does not want to be a Phillie and I doubt that he wants to suffer thru whatever the Giants will be undergoing in the next several years. Boras/Harper need to let go of some ego, and AF needs to be a little more receptive to going past his comfort zone in years/salary.
    Let’s just get Harper signed somewhere so we can just concentrate on life after Kershaw.

  7. Have there been any Caleb Ferguson sightings? I haven’t heard his name this spring other than he’s working on a third pitch.

    Ferguson, Santana, Gonsolin, May, White have me with delusions of grandeur right now.

    1. rumor has it Ferguson will wear a 22 jersey, and pretend he’s really Kershaw. Nobody will know the difference. Kind of like that movie ‘Dave’ with Kevin Klein from 1993

  8. I live in Irvine.

    I wonder if people realize who the worst defensive outfielder was in all of baseball last year, at least based on UZR.

    Kemp? Castellanos? Nope.


    His RC+ was 135, which is pretty much identical to Joc’s RC+ against RHs, and Joc is a better defender. Kike’s RC+ against LH is 113…so so.

    His WAR last year was 3.5. Based on that, his AV should slot around 28 milion. But, that’s full retail. The beauty of home grown talent or the deft use of a lineup, is that you can get the same level of production and contribution to wins at a lower price.

    You tell me. Is he worth it?

      1. Mark

        They closed the one in Rancho I guess you found out.

        I was never big on them, but that is probably because we have so many different choices for Mexican food in California.

        It sounds like your having more fun then work this week, and you deserve it.

        I bet your son is really enjoying himself too.

        That is great that you can share this with your son!

    1. Dodgerpatch

      Those numbers you posted here about Harper, are deceiving.

      I had read somewhere or heard somewhere that the Nats had to play Harper in center a lot last year, and that is why his defensive numbers didn’t look good.

      I looked it up, and Harper played more then 400 plus innings in center last year.

      And because of that, his defensive numbers were not as good in general, like the numbers you posted.

      The year before Harper only played a hundred innings in center like Joc did last year, and Harper had 3 defensive runs saved, and Joc was negative 3 defensive runs saved, in about the same amount of innings.

      The numbers you posted here as you know, were only based on outfield innings in general, but as you know, it is a big difference from covering center then left or rightfield, although I would say rightfield would be harder to cover, then left.

      1. I would hand Harper LF if he signed with the idea he could slide to 1B later in his career when he bulks up and slows down.

      2. Harper would probably be best in left, but if the Dodgers would happen to sign him, his numbers should be better as a Dodger, with our shifts.

        Because it seems like the players that come to the Dodgers that didn’t have great defensive numbers on their other teams, seem to have better numbers on the Dodgers.

        Machado had much better defensive numbers once he came to the Dodgers and Forsythe’s defensive numbers were that best at second in the National League, in that first year.

        And if you noticed, the Dodgers don’t play Joc in center anymore, because of his bad defensive numbers in center.

        And Harper will not be playing much center either, although he is a lot faster then Joc.

  9. My lineup would be

    Pollock CF
    Seager SS
    Turner 3b
    Harper RF
    Bellinger LF
    Muncy 1B
    CT3/Kike 2B
    Barnes/Martin C

    1. We will never have just one lineup because of Muncy/Bellinger/2B/LF constantly moving around. Every time I try I fail.

  10. I think that’s an excellent idea.

    Almost as good as the idea of using Kershaw’s insurance money to pay for Bryce Harper.

  11. From John Paul Morosi:

    Bryce Harper update: Some #Phillies officials have grown concerned Harper will sign with the #Dodgers if they make an offer that comes close to Philly’s. The ability to play close to home and train in Arizona both appeal to Harper, who is a @Lakers fan. @MLB @MLBNetwork

    1. In some ways, every single decision the front office made in the past 2-3 years retroactively makes sense if they land Harper this off-season. The question I humbly offer is: If we’re not committing long-term money to Harper, what exactly do we have it earmarked for? I hope upper management addresses this question at some point. Signing Harper this offseason is about as no-brainer as a baseball decision gets.

    2. Bobby

      Did you see that post yesterday from someone here, that said Bryce’s Harper’s Wife’s family, have been big Dodger fans all their lives?

  12. I am so not in on Harper, and it’s not just because of the dope fiend money, whatever that amount is. #1 Does come with the Dodger mindset, of course he might possibly adjust, he might. #2 I don’t think he’s really that good. Yeah he has had some great years, and a few good and some so so. (What has he done lately? Won the home run derby. #3 Do we need Him. Is that our biggest need. Not sure what it really is but don’t think it’s really him.

    1. What he has done lately.
      100 RBI – Kemp led Dodgers with 85
      103 Runs – Taylor led with 85
      130 Walks – led NL, Muncy led with 79
      34 Doubles – Taylor led with 35, Harper would have been 2nd
      34 HR – Muncy led with 35, Harper would have been 2nd
      And that was in what was considered a down year for him

    1. He’s on base 39% of the time and will hit 35 bombs even in a so-called down year. AJ Pollack and Joe Kelly are not enough to put the Dodgers over the top.

    2. Bobo

      I am just going with the flow here, because I don’t know what it is going to happen.

      But it is hard for me to believe that this might happen, because we hear all this stuff all the time, and it never happens.

      Look at all that JT Realmuto talk.

      But remember he does have good numbers, when there are runners in scoring position.

      And that has been this team’s biggest weakness, in the last few years, and not a lot of big name players, have good numbers in these situations.

  13. The farm system has been drained to a certain extent do to trades for Darvish, Hill, and Machado. There are no middle of the order bats coming up in the system in the near future, and JT is on the wrong side of 30 with balky knees. #22 has a bad wing and if he needs surgery the shoulder is a two year deal. Harper needs to be signed. Don’t go and sign a 31-year old injury prone outfielder who costs more money than the 28 year old outfielder you just traded and then not get the deal done for Harper.

    1. Hear hear. DJ Peters is not enough to hang our hat on. This is our chance. Right now. Earlier I listed Ferguson, Santana, Gonsolin, May, White as reasons for pitching optimism. Rightly, Urias belongs in that group too.

      We have catchers aplenty, a pretty decent infield set to play for a while [augmented by Lux & possibly Downs or Estevez].

      What we need most is:

      1. Impact bat
      2. Starting outfielder
      3. Something for the fans after two tough WS losses in a row

  14. Jim Bowden agrees with Hawk:
    The #Dodgers must realize with Arenado now not a FA option….and the industry believing Goldschmidt will eventually be extended by the #Cardinals & with no middle of the order bats in their system coming & Kershaw shoulder barking…they need to pivot & make strong run at Harper

    1. I have no idea why, but I have had this strange feeling for the last couple of weeks that the reason Harper had not signed was because he wants to be a Dodger, and some how some way the two sides will get it done. If he wanted to be a Phillie, it would have been done by now. As I have said all winter, I am not a Harper fan, but Hawkeye is correct the Dodgers DO NOT have any middle of the lineup bats on the way up. Regardless of the bombs he hit last weekend, I am not convinced that DJ Peters will make enough contact. I see him more as a Dave Kingman type than a Bryce Harper. If he changes…good for the Dodgers.

      Washington is undoubtedly going to extend Rendon. St. Louis will go all out and try to extend Goldschmidt, but if he does not want St. Louis, I would expect him to go home to Houston. How good would he be in that bandbox?

      Harper makes sense for the Dodgers. I agree with 59 that Harper would be an improvement over Verdugo. Verdugo is not a .900+ OPS guy or .390 OBP guy. ONE year over the CBT threshold. With $70+MM coming off the books next year, the Dodgers will be in good shape. The first of the FA babies on the Dodgers will be Corey Seager and he becomes a FA at the same time Kershaw’s and Jansen’s contracts run out. If he makes a full recovery and plays to his ability this year, I would go all out and try to extend him. They will have room for 2020, more in 2021, and even more in 2022. This team is in such good shape, and if they do add Harper, they can move players (and pitchers) to replenish the farm.

      I think Harper’s attitude would be kept in check with the Dodgers. There are too many guys that could keep him line. I also think he would be happy in LA and that will help his demeanor.

      I don’t know. Maybe I am talking myself into wanting Harper. If it happens…Great. If not, I will not be disappointed.

      1. AC

        I think I am talking myself into this too, especially when I think of the same old alignment of players.

        I like our players, but we could do much better like Hawkeye suggested.

        I am tired of players that can’t adjust to the different situations in games, and that is a talent some just don’t have.

        I think the time is really ripe to extend Corey too, because this is the time he is going to be thinking about security, after these injuries, and he had a lot to think about, during his time off.

        1. I am also talking myself into wanting Harper. I’m starting to think of him as our “Mr. October”. The guy that pushes us over the top in the WS.

          1. I think it’s better to think of him as someone who can offer the promise of a 50 HR year, MVP, hitting one out of Dodger Stadium. A true fear factor in the lineup.

            Intangibly, he’d attract a lot of the media attention, letting lower-key stars shine away from the spotlight.

            I’d really be banking on 10 years of HR’s and BB’s. And if we ever get robot umps, his OBP would be the greatest benefactor.

      2. AC–You get the credit if we sign him. This comment could be the tipping point in the negotiations 🙂

  15. It is pretty obvious, he doesn’t want to go to Phillie, or this would be already done.

    I was thinking, is this really going to happen, or did Friedman, Roberts, and Kasten, just want to stick it to our former GM, and make him spend a little more money, and have a quick men’s trip to Vegas.

    I can see Roberts having fun with anyone, but I am not sure, about the Kasten connection, and Friedman.

    But they said Harper only wanted to meet, with serious offers.

    1. Palmdale

      I tried to start a trend and post a happy face too, but it never goes through for me, on my iPhone.

  16. Yeah, I think now that Arrenado has been extended, I could see the Dodgers finally offering 6-7 years for a lot of money.

    In fact, I am now officially making plans to be at opening day instead of just selling my tickets!

    1. I will go nuts if we sign him. I told my younger son if we signed Harper it would be a 15 on the 1-to-10 scale. He said it only goes up to 10 so I said a 10+ then. Any way you slice it, it would be a monster story and hopefully one that helps us toward our ultimate goal of a world championship and possibly more.

  17. I think the best argument against signing Harper [the best obviously is that he’s an offensive force who only costs money] is the “many vs. one” argument.

    Philosophically, we could sign a starting outfielder, a starting pitcher, a late-inning eliever and a major bench piece all for the price of one player.

    Seen it that light it’s easy to understand why we’re not going to land him.

    1. Harper would finally give the Dodgers a superstar hitter to brag about. A Barry Bonds like guy that the Giants had for years, without all the weirdness

  18. Question for AC – If the nuclear option happens and Kershaw has surgery and can’t play for a few years do the Dodgers get any relief against the cap?

  19. So if Arenado’s new deal is 8y/$260m, that is an $32.5 AAV.

    Have to think 10y/$330m gets it done for Harper.

      1. Boras is ego-trippin’: We might get him for less than $300m, but only because of a player opt-out.

        Have to be careful not to game the system too much but it’s doable.

        I’d love a 5-6 year deal with an opt-out after year 3.

        1. Just for fun:


          Opt-out after first 3 years @ $40m per [$120m]

          Yearly opt-out after years 4-6 @ $35m per [$105m]

          Years 7-9 @ $30m per [$90m]

          Year 10 @ $25m per [$25m]

  20. We’ll know if Harper will be a Dodger for sure if he dumps Boras and signs with Rich Paul and Klutch….

  21. MJ.
    I don’t think it me you need to warn about drinking the Kool Aid. I’m not talking myself into it.

  22. Harper & Pollock would certainly be a great offensive upgrade on Kemp & Puig.

    Harper obviously wants to be a Dodger.
    I think it’s gonna happen now. Just a matter of when.

    We will have an incredibly long lineup, and very difficult to pitch through.
    Looking forward to Opening Day.

  23. General comment. Not aimed at this blog.

    Why do people not understand player opt-outs?

    They are good for teams.

    If Harper opts out after three years, you probably just got a hell of a three-year deal out if it.

  24. Logan Forsythe signed minor league contract with Texas. Will get $2MM if he makes ML team. He is given a good chance to make it.

    1. I like T. Bauer. He speaks his mind and isn’t a wimp amongst the liberal class of PC culture.. Perhaps he may need to hone his filter skills a bit, but otherwise, the guy has guts to stand up against the anti-free speech crowd

  25. I think the Aernado signing was good for both sides. Nolan is great in Colorado… he might have been good elsewhere. He will retire ahead of Todd Helton as the Greatest Rockie of all time.

    Good for him.

    1. Aernado didn’t want to leave Mile High and its advantages for hitters. You are so right when you say it makes him great there. He will pad his numbers and take advantage over other players like those who have to play in Los Angeles and earn each and every one of their Home Runs.

  26. Take it with a grain of salt but this was posted on Twitter tonight:

    More Harper stuff I was told:
    *SF Giants told they’re out
    *down to LA/Philly/mystery team
    *if he was to sign today, #Dodgers
    *Boras at odds with Harper & Harper’s family
    *Harper’s family beyond Mrs. wants him in LA.
    *family talked Bryce out of signing with Philly twice

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