Band of Brothers

For a while, I have refrained from saying anything bad about Bryce Harper because I knew there was a possibility he could be a Dodger. I knew the Giants would make a run at him, but I could not see the Dodgers letting him sign there. Evidently, Friedman offered 4 years/$180 million to Harper. The Dodgers pitch to Harper was to make him the highest paid player by a mile. Bryce chose $330 million from the Phillies instead (and Andrew Friedman said “whhhhheeeeeeewwwww.”)

Like any player who was offered money to play, Harper took the extra $150 million. Who can blame him? It’s real money! If you wouldn’t do the same you are an unusual human. Phillie fans have been down this same road before: Ownership gave out big contracts which acted as boat anchors later – the team did win a World Series, but they have sucked much more than they have won.

Friedman could have opted for that formula to appease fans and people likeBill Plaschke of The LA Times, who have never ran anything, but their mouths. They are ideologues! They can tell you exactly how to run your business, your life or baseball team. They know, because they can do it better than you, even though they have never built, ran or maintained a damn thing! But, Andrew Friedman knows that he will be judged by how many World Championships he wins… and he does not believe signing a player like Bryce Harper is the way to do it! Truth be told: He offered the highest AAV ever, but he hoped that Harper would decline it! He wanted to come in second.

I have been telling you all this for years and many of you understand it, but some still don’t get it… and never will. Signing Bryce Harper at age 26 for 13 years is felony stupid. For at least half of those years he will be in decline. You may say “but he can be productive until his late 30’s!” I don’t believe that. Bryce Harper is the type of player whom I believe will experience a rapid decline, when it hits that time. He whips that bat like a buggy whip and if he loses bat speed (he will – it’s just a matter of when), he will fall like a cliff-diver. It’s not like he is all that anyway. He has had a monster year, a good year and some years that weren’t so good. Based upon availability, he may have been worth $330 million, but based upon production he was not even in the discussion.

Overpaying seldom gets you anywhere – that’s true of just about everything in life! The Dumbass of The LA Times wrote:

“Dodgers whiff on Bryce Harper and a chance to solidify a franchise for a decade.

Exactly the opposite is true. Conventional thinking is usually wrong and I am not sure that this even rises to “conventional.” “Moronic” is the word I would use. It should read:

“Dodgers win on Bryce Harper and a chance to have a boat anchor contract for a decade.

Here’s the other 800 pound gorilla in the room: What kind of teammate is Bryce Harper? The Washington Nationals have often been picked to win it all, but could not even get out of the NLDS with Bryce Harper. The Nats could not get past the NLCS for the past six years, while the Dodgers have advanced to the World Series the past two years… without Bryce Harper.

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to MLB.Radio and one of the Nats beat writers talked about the Nats clubhouse last year verses this year. They said that last year, the Nats clubhouse was “The quietest in baseball.” It “reminded them of a funeral” another reporter said. They contrasted that with this Spring’s Nats’ clubhouse, which is lively and enthusiastic! Is all that on Bryce Harper? Probably not, but I think he can be surly at times. If the Nats do well this year, we may have more reason to believe that.

Bryce Harper would have made the Dodgers better for four years, unless he wrecked the clubhouse… which is possible. This Band of Brothers is very close and single-minded in what they are focused upon. Harper had the chance to change that dynamic. Signing Bryce Harper was no guarantee the Dodgers will win the World Series.

Evidently, Dodgers Chairman, Mark Walter gave Kasten and Friedman the green light to go over the Luxury Tax Threshold and AF was prepared to do so – it’s just the long-term deals he is unwilling to do and frankly, I am glad he doesn’t!

The Red Sox went out and got the bat they needed to win the World Series in JD Martinez, which was a smart move at $105 Million/5 Years (he has an opt-out next year and may use it). But comparing that move to $330 Million /13 years is just plain ignorant!

Bryce Harper went for the money and has a no-trade, no-opt out clause. Bryce wanted to go to the Dodgers, but most important to Bryce was the prestige of having the biggest contract EVER. He sold out for the money… and that may tell us all we need to know.Ken Rosenthal of The Athletichas the complete details. Two sentences from that article are especially telling:

One rival executive thought it telling that the Nats allowed Harper to join a division rival, essentially without a fight.

Well, if the Nats viewed Harper as a player they did not mind losing, perhaps the Phillies should be concerned with the player they are getting.

There’s nothing to see here, folks… Move Along! This team has more than enough to win it all this year… with or without Kershaw. They have contingencies for their contingencies. I’m done!

This article has 47 Comments

  1. I’m glad that all this Harper saga is finally over, now to focus on OUR TEAM and hope that Kershaw’s injury is not serious, and if it is, be prepared to overcome!

    Something tells me that Kershaw will be ready, Dodgers was not in the race for Harper, and when they knew CK’s injury, they went back to the BH race, to make a trade for Bauer? and now that just when CK reports better, bye Bryce!!

    If any of this were true, then that shows me that the organization is ready to do whatever it takes to win!

  2. The Players Union is appeased and the Dodgers can continue with season preparations without further distraction.

  3. Does anybody know if Muncy is working out at second base this Spring?

    Keith Law says Lux is definitely a shortstop and continued to not over hype Verdugo other than to say he has good bat to ball skills and a great arm.

  4. At some point the Dodgers will have to go in on long term contracts if they want to keep Seager and Bellinger, both Scott Boras clients. I’m guessing they will. A lot of writers point out that the Dodgers haven’t really done or are unwilling to do big long term deals, but they overlook the offer they made to Zack Greinke (close to $160 million) before Arizona swooped in and signed him for $210 million, something they regret now. Yah, 13 years was crazy, but the Phillies were desperate. The Dodgers still figure to be the best team in the National League. The best thing for MLB moving forward would be to limit the length of contracts to something like five years, but that won’t happen. The Dodger offer was interesting. It should put an end to all the talk that the Dodgers want or have to stay under the luxury tax.

  5. The Dodgers made a strong offer and Bryce chose to take a longer deal for less money annually. That’s his prerogative. All this talk about him not being that good, bad in the clubhouse, body that will decline rapidly is all speculative. If the Phillies get to the playoffs, it will probably be worth it to them after finishing below 500 last year. Good for them, but I don’t think the rest of that team is all that great. Everyone can talk about WAR and DRS all they want, but the fact of the matter is, he’s one of the best bats in the MLB and he would have improved our team.

    It would be awesome if the FO would do something to dramatically improve the team. But, when you’re loaded with so many quality players, it’s easier said than done. JTRM would have cost us too much. Cano? Not even sure he’s a second baseman anymore. DJLM? Can he hit away from Coors? Manny? Where’s he gonna play with 3B and SS locked up? There just wasn’t a lot of good fits. Even Harper, if he was right handed, it would have been better.

    Last season was a year of missed opportunities. Hindsight is 20/20, but how good would have Yelich looked in blue? Stanton, Ozuna. We really whiffed on those ones. Now, we’re relegated to see what can be had at the deadline.

    1. Stanton was/is a bad contract!

      Yelich and Ozuna?

      Might have put the Dodgers over the LTT and there we no way for that to happen last year.

      Additionally, we do not know who the Marlins asked for….

      1. In a way it shows a lack of confidence on Harper’s part. Does he not think he will have the skills at age 30 to command another large contract? The way inflation is, the AAV is going to be higher in 2024, and by that time some other player will have signed a much bigger contract, so he won’t have that prestige, nor will teams be courting him. If he’s at the top of his powers at age 30 and on the open market in 2024, he would’ve been able to sign a potentially bigger AAV contract. If his skills didn’t decline and he had signed another big five or six year deal, he would’ve made more money at the end of his career, been on a competitive team, had teams vie for his services again and been the center of attention for another contract.

        Now he’s stuck on the Phillies, who aren’t good. They might be at some point, but a lot of propitious events have to fall into place.

        I’m not sure of his opt outs, but I’m presuming he’ll stay in Philly for the duration of the contract. If so, he doesn’t have another contract to play for. Without that incentive, complacency will make him worse. He’s already overrated, and his defense is already shaky. He will discover firsthand the Philly fan’s glee in booing anybody, especially an overpriced player who doesn’t live up the his contract on a mediocre team.

        An accountant would know better, but if he’d also signed in LA, it’s possible he could have continued to live in Nevada and just flown in to LA for work. If he could’ve made Nevada his permanent residence then he would have avoided the onerous state taxes of CA…and PA. Heck, the money saved just in taxes could’ve bought his Gulfstream.

        If the Phillies somehow have a window where they are competitive and maybe win a WS or two with Harper, then I suppose to them it’s worth it. There will be a time, though, when that window is closed and an aged Harper is still hanging around. He’ll be a junk bond and passed around and given away like Matt Kemp. Or worse, be like Pujols.

        The Dodgers offer was a good one. If he had wanted to take a chance on himself, he would have taken it. He wanted the safety net. I’m ok with him not being here. He can only play left and a right handed bat is a better fit for the team.

        and I’m ok with JTRM not being here. He’s not a good framer. Period. The end. In today’s baseball, that is one of the most important metrics in evaluating catchers. A good framer makes every pitcher better.

        1. Patch, where he lives is not a consideration for the games themselves. It does matter for his endorsements which would be taxed in the state he is domiciled, which he still could claim Nevada. I do not know the Pennsylvania tax laws, and many of the cities in the East have City Income Taxes, and I have no idea if Philadelphia is one of them. If he had signed with the Dodgers, he would have had to pay State of California taxes for 102 out of the 162 game schedule…81 home games, 9 SF games, 9 SD games and 3 Angel Stadium games. With Philly (or DC) he would have between 9-18 depending on whether the NL East plays the AL West. 3 or 4 annually against LAD, SFG,and SDP. Then 2-4 against the Angels and A’s when the NL East hooks up with the AL West. State taxes are even more of an issue now that the state income tax deduction is limited for federal purposes. I am sure that Scott Boras has a special team of accountants that broke it all out and will handle all of his tax filings.

    2. Reports out that Harper wanted to go to one team and ‘build a brand’, and be a FA destination where other stars would want to come play with him. What is he now LeBron James? He is a very good player and knows it but not someone I would build my teams future around. Would he have helped the Dodgers? Sure. Would he have been worth his contract? Time will tell. Would I take 6 to 1 odds he will be MVP this season? Hard pass.

      1. I think he’s massively covering his ass here. All he cared about [or Boras cared about] was beating the overall $325m number. In exchange for that pyrrhic victory he went to city he didn’t want to live in, a division he wanted to leave, and accepted a number of years that is frankly ridiculous and a major concession on his part. Additionally, his lack of an opt-out hurts him and limits his freedom going forward; and as all economists know: options have inherent value, even if not exercised.

        I’m not sure if Philly got a GOOD contract out of it [the AAV is certainly surprisingly low and helps out a lot with luxury tax shenanigans], but Harper certainly got what he asked for. He’s now wedded to Philly, through good and bad. I’d still put the Nationals above them in the NL East and possibly the Braves too in a year or two. (I’ll believe in the Mets when they make me.) They really should add Keuchel to make that rotation more legitimate but at the least we have a new team to root against in 2019. They completely collapsed last year and I hope they feel the pressure to begin the season.

        1. He’s a freaking dumb a$$. He could have stayed with the Nats by taking that deal for 10 years with a higher AAC and probably would have played his entire career with one team. I know I would rather live and play in DC than Philly. This was purely an ego thing. He sold his soul for the highest contract ever which will be broken in 2 years when Trout’s a free agent, because no one deserves to be the highest paid player more than Trout. Passing on the Dodgers $40-45M annually was just a stupid move on a multitude of reasons. If it’s about the brand, the Dodgers give him the second biggest market for that brand. They also offered the highest AAV. By the time the contract ended, he could have would up extending or even becoming a Yankee, or maybe even playing for a Las Vegas team in the future. I thought he was a prima donna and wanted him anyways. I hope everyone is thankful that I’m not the GM. I’m over it. As irritated that I am that he chose the Phillies over the Dodgers, the Nats fans must be absolutely disgusted in him.

      2. Vegas

        That just sounds like spin from an agent and a player, that just signed a 13 year contract, with no opt outs.

        Harper will make a lot of money, and Boras will become even richer, but I don’t think that is really a good contract for Harper or Phillie.

        Money isn’t everything, especially when your talking about your mental health, and your happiness.

        And Harper was going to be well off, what ever he did anyways.

        Those fans in Phillie will eat him alive, when he doesn’t always deliver or it seems like he is just going through the motions.

        Harper might keep the Phillies from being able to go after Trout, and the fans will probably blame this signing and Harper, because of that.

        And Harper hasn’t exactly stayed on the field or produced consistently either.

  6. Mark–Anyone who lands a direct shot on Plaschke–as you did–is a friend of mine. I’ll have to add that line to my arsenal.

    1. I do have to say that he is a talented writer… it’s just insanity that stops him from being accurate.

      1. For sure Mark! Every time he makes a prediction, I am hoping its for the team I’m rooting against!

      2. It’s a good thing Plaschke (Chicken Little) is a sports writer and not a sports bettor!

  7. Enjoyed your take Mark! The Dodgers are in great shape to make another run, even a blind man can see that. They have a top five starting rotation, a loaded bullpen and a great fielding and hitting team. They have money to burn, and IF Kershaw is done (highly doubtful!), they arms like Urias waiting to step up. What’s more, they can go after someone at the trade dead line in case any position needs shoring up. I can’t wait for opening day! PalmDale, totally agree with your comment Plaschke! That guy is such a moron!

    1. I love your positivism MJRod! I totally agree. I’m just getting over my Harper blues…again. I’m pissed I allowed that clown to suck me back in after writing him off two weeks ago. That freaking attention whore! We’re still paying for people that don’t play for us anymore. Too fresh for another boat anchor. I guess the Phillies had a couple of years to forget about Ryan Howard’s contract.

      Moving on now. No one left to sign. Looking forward to the start of the season and the calm before the chaos starting ahead of the Trade Deadline.

      Blue Jays, Yankees, Marlins, Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants – Teams that won multiple championships since we’ve won our last.

  8. Harper is with the Philadelphia and not with the Dodgers,the Dodgers were never going to give Harper what he wanted because as Friedman has said since day one, he is not going to give out long term contracts. But unlike Mark I do think the Dodgers would have been very happy if Harper had signed with them for the 4 years.

    News today on Kershaw is better but I am not encouraged, still think the worst is coming.

    1. Good thing we have Urias to step right in. I find it extremely unlikely Kershaw’s ready for opening day.

  9. Buchholz signs with the Jays, 1 year $3M with $3M in incentives. He is not without injury risk but had a 3 WAR in half a season last year with the Snakes. Not much left to go after if Kershaw goes down. Maybe Gio Gonzales but the team has lots of leftie starters already. Keuchel is also a leftie and out of the Dodgers price range one would think.

    1. Don’t see us getting Keuchel but I wouldn’t mind us spending a little money to be proactive so we don’t have as much to buy at the trade deadline. Maybe another reliever, maybe a starting pitcher. Possibly a RH outfield bat. I still think we’ll see a trade or two before opening day. I don’t really think we need much but since we were [allegedly] willing to add $40m to the payroll, what else could that buy?

      1. I’d kick the tires on Adam Jones, who is from San Diego and can still play a good OF though he’s not GG level anymore. He seems similar to Cutch to me and he got a $50M contract from Philly. I bet he would take a prove it $2M or so deal w/incentives. I find it puzzling that the Giants don’t go after him or Cargo with their current OF mix.

        1. Always been a fan of his. Only risk is he might become a Roberts favorite and get more at-bats than he deserves. Granted, this happened as much since the days of Luis Gonzalez, but even Utley got more play than he probably should have. I like the idea though and would support it.

  10. Harper and Manny were/are mercenaries… Will we lose Seager or Bills under the same Boras Dog n Pony show???… Damn I hope not.. Irepeat where is the MLB and Union going with this..
    I haven’t won a national title or W.S. pennant since 88 for my beloved Irish and the Blue… But I’ve been quite happy watching both teams emerge lately as a force in their sports…
    I’m 72 but I’m close…This could be the year!??!

  11. I’m so thankful the dodgers didn’t sign harper I love our team, it can still use a tweek here and the but I’m happy! The only thing that does stand out in my mind is, I don’t see trout going anywhere but to philly when he’s a free agent, and to me that makes the philly offense pretty damn dangerous. Other then that GO DODGERS!!!!

    1. Trout could potentially sign a 10 year $400M to $450M contract at age 29 and the Angels should either extend him or trade him for a boatload of ML talent and prospects. If he does hit the open market I would think he’s prefer to go down the Fwy to the Dodgers than to the Philly/Harper show. The Dodgers may break form and do a long term deal for him and only him. The Angels cannot afford to lose him, especially to the Dodgers, or they face a fan revolt!

    2. Like I told Vegas, maybe the Phillies won’t have enough resources to sign Trout when he comes up for free agency, and because of that, the fans in Phillie might take it out on Harper because they can.

      And Harper is now stuck in Phillie for another 13 years, unless the Phillies are able to trade Harper eventually.

    1. Oh painful day for me. Guess it’s what I get for doing an old folks boogie and jumping off a wall as a short cut. My mind made a promise that my body couldn’t fill. I’m heading to get my leg x-ray’d right now. It’ll have to be something real bad for me to ever show up at the emergency in the hospital here again. The care they give is greater than the carelessness of the wait to receive it. All’s I wanted was an x-ray but the wait was torture, thus I got out of there.

  12. Split-squad tonight. Two games at 5pm PST. What do people here think are the pressing issues now in camp? I’ll list a few to start:

    1. Health of Kershaw & Seager. Arguably our two biggest stars are trying to prove they belong on the field. Seager’s impact is even more pivotal than Kershaw’s.

    2. Bullpen pecking order. We have way more than 8 guys capable of being in the big league pen. How much of a factor will options, roles, and salaries play in our decisions?

    3. Verdugo. In many ways, he’s the man on the spot. Mark has declared he’s on the team so now it’s just a matter of the size of his role. Even though Joc has his followers, it feels like almost everyone would like if Verdugo forced his way into the starting lineup and became a regular. We need some new blood/energy on the team, especially with Puig no longer here.

    4. The tweeners: Stripling/Urias/Ferguson/Santana. Maeda has been named a starter but what will happen with these guys? Have to think Stripling is a lock for the pen but will the others continue to develop in AAA or will we carry the best arms we have? If I were Yimi or Fields or Chargois, I wouldn’t be buying property in LA anytime soon.

    5. Prospects. Peters is making his mark. Lux and Smith and Ruiz have been visible. May continues to open eyes [that athleticism!] and Gonsolin has huge stuff. White looks healthy {knock wood} and just needs to iron out his command and stay on the field. Maybe Beaty and Rios find some at-bats in the majors this year [though likely not with us].

    1. PD I was reading an article on another site interview with Keith Law that was saying the Dodgers don’t know what to do about Peters unless he cuts down his swing and the K’s. He is a crossroads.

      Kershaw is hurt again. His back is contributing to his other problems. Now they say Martins back is sore. Old men get old man back problems 🙂 and the Dodgers love signing old guys for lots of money.

  13. This team is not without Kershaw. Even if Kershaw is unable to play I find it obvious that he brings much to his peer team mates and team. This club’s mentality has the ‘let’s do it for Clayton” attitude when he’s been on the DL as they relate to all “I got your back”. I don’t think Harper’s peacock attitude gave his club the desire to cover him in the same. The only player I’ve heard Harper give real praise to is Mike Trout, how could he not though? Really can’t be too harsh when it comes to what Harper has done because the timing was perfect for him to maximize the worth of the talent he possesses. Borras is extremely talented and very easy to hate, at this distance anyways.

  14. Quas, sorry to hear about that. I know the feeling. This getting older sure has its drawbacks. But it’s better than the alternative. I hope you are running up the bell towers soon.

  15. This is paradise: LA Dodger Talk on one screen, Dodger game on another screen, Another Dodger game on another screen and e-mail up. Paradise!
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Oh, and Markers 46 on the rocks!

      1. At times…

        I worked hard to get here. Got back from LA last night at 12:53. In the office by 7:45. Home at 6:30. Here I am.

        1. Wow Mark, rough neighborhood. Gotta pack heat at the desk? Nothing says fun like whiskey, guns and baseball!

          1. I have my carry permit which I always do. It’s always laying on my desk… unless the grandkids are around. Our front yard is city, but the back is “country” with a woods and creek. Coyotes sometimes seek our dogs. I’ve had to shoot one before. Other than that, I’ve never had to use it and hope I never will, but there are a lot of morons carrying guns here. I mean, in Indiana, you can get a Lifetime Permit to carry a gun, but have to renew your Drivers License every 4 years?

  16. Ferguson had a tough night. He did not have a curve ball and his location was not good. I thought Stripling looked pretty sharp. Lux had a nice triple.

  17. So relieved that the Harper BS is done. I am going out on a limb here, but alot of times blessings comes out of ashes. Joc and Verdugo get a chance to prove themselves, and you know what, something tells me that Joc is a late bloomer and that is why Freidman has not moved him despite all of us shipping his butt to Chicago,. Joc is a box of chocolates, but he seems to bring the thunder when all seems lost in October. By the way, did anybody see the game yesterday when Pollack went the other way to right field for a double leading off and JT did the same thing in his next at bat. Don’t get caught up in the LA Times Plashke doomsday BS about not getting Harper. We have so many young studs coming up .

  18. Mark,
    I will be moving to (drum roll) either Idaho, Wyoming or Montana. Not quite sure which state yet, but leaving California. One of the most exciting things I am looking forward to is the gun laws and the open carry, not to mention the over burdensome taxes here in the so-called Golden State. Can still be huge Dodger fan from any of those states, but California is run by idiots. Anyone have a preference in any of those 3 states I just mentioned?????

Comments are closed.