Sounds Like Scott Boras Asking for Final Bids on Bryce Harper, Dodgers Back in Mix

Like any good auctioneer, Scott Boras had a backup plan in place when it appeared as though teams weren’t going to meet his reserve price for Bryce Harper. Rather than sticking at a $300 million floor, he roped in some more teams that might be willing to go lower, thus jump-starting the market and getting it back to both the length and total value he’d initially been aiming for. Or at least closer to both, since he may have been targeting as many as 14 years at up to $40 million per.

The Phillies have long been viewed as favorites for Harper, but, despite Jon Heyman’s best efforts to say otherwise, they seem to have been bidding against themselves ever since Manny Machado signed in San Diego. Owner John Middleton’s “stupid money” boast could end up being a very expensive gaffe, though it sure beats the hell out of telling everyone your team has no more money to spend on players.

So with spring games already underway and the field narrowed to one — unless you count the mystery teams! — Boras may have made a final plea to up the bidding. Middleton was in Las Vegas over the weekend and left Saturday evening without a big score, but only because had had to attend a previously scheduled event the following day

According to Buster Olney, the sides remain engaged and contract talks between Harper and the Phillies “could be resolved by Tuesday.” I don’t think it’s reading too much into the matter to say that putting a specific timeline on it smacks of Boras floating an ultimatum to spur one last round of offers from any teams that might be lurking quietly. Perhaps a team like, I don’t know, the Dodgers?

Thought to have been out of the running for Harper’s services, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reported that a Dodgers contingent including manager Dave Roberts was spotted in Vegas on Sunday. And the thick plottens.

As for other teams, there doesn’t appear to be much movement. The White Sox aren’t going to bid after repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot ($) during Machado negotiations and the Padres are likely done after actually landing him. The Yankees have said they’re out and the Giants seem to have served their purpose after trying to work out a shorter deal for higher AAV.

Then you’ve got the Cubs, who have clung steadfastly to the idea that they don’t have any money left in the baseball budget. And while it’s possible they’re doing what some still inexplicably believe to the be the case and orchestrating the slowest slow-play in history, there is nothing at all to indicate that they’re active. I mean, yeah, they will likely get a last-minute courtesy call, but that’s about it unless Tom Ricketts’ heart grows three sizes.

Remember, this is the team unwilling or unable to bring in Jose Iglesias on a minor league deal or to throw a few million at Martin Maldonado. If the Cubs had the desire to spend more money and had any real designs on Harper, they’d have made it happen a long time ago.

At this point, I just hope it’s anyone but the Dodgers. And for what it’s worth, one pundit is calling a Wednesday press conference in Philly to announce a deal of $330 million over 8-10 years.

Update: Multiple sources, including Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan, are reporting that the Dodgers’ interest is in a short-term deal. Team Harper has been adamant about avoiding such an option, but timing and circumstances could change things.

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Evan Altman

Evan Altman is the EIC and co-founder of Cubs Insider and has proclaimed himself Central Indiana's foremost Cubs authority. He is a husband, father, homebrewer, and award-winning blogger with entirely too much pop culture knowledge. Evan's greatest accomplishments include scoring 400 points in Magic Johnson's Fast Break, naming all 10 members of the Wu-Tang Clan in under 3.5 seconds, and winning the Meese Literary Award at Hanover College.

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9 Comments

    1. Good example of why WAR is flawed. Another good example is bWAR has that but fWAR has those two years as 3.0 vs 1.0 for Harper and 3.5 vs 2.0 for Harper.

  1. Its clear he doesn’t want to go to Philly. I wish the Cubs would come in and go 14 years and 350M at a 25M AAV and give Boras and Harper the record years and total value for a less AAV.

    If the Cubs are cashed strapped in 2019 give him a big signing bonus to be paid down the line, a small 2019 dollar amount and bump it up in 20 and 21 with an opt out after 3 years and be a FA once the new CBA kicks in. If he’s worried about a strike he can opt in for 2 more years.

    30M SB
    10M in 19
    30M in 20
    30M in 21
    –Opt Out– 3 Years 100M
    27.5M in 22 and 23
    –Opt Out– 5 years 155M
    25M 24-28
    –Opt Out– 10 years 280M
    17.5M 29-32
    Total 14 years 350M

    The worst think that can happen for the Cubs is he takes a short deal with he Dodgers and they move one of the other LHH OF to the Indians for Kluber to protect themselves if Kershaw is going to be down for a while.

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