Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals' right fielder, does not want to talk about his future. He is going to be a free agent come 2019, but the 25-year-old says he just wants to focus on his game during the 2018 season. Despite that, there is already speculation about what's next for Harper.
On Monday, Harper announced that he is not going to discuss free agency until he signs his next contract.
"I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019 at all," Harper told reporters at the press conference at the Nats' spring training complex, via USA Today.
He added that any questions should be directed to his agent, Scott Boras.
Regardless, people still want to know whether he is staying with the Nats. If not, which team will he play with and how much his new deal will cost? Here are some theories.
The Nats Will Try To Keep Bryce Harper
Harper's current team has the exclusive rights to negotiate with him over the next eight months. The Nats said they intend to be silent about it as well, but they shared that they will do anything to keep Harper on the team.
General Manager Mike Rizzo previously said that he is looking forward to many more years of having Harper with the Nats.
"He's dear to my heart," he said, via USA Today.
They already had preliminary talks this winter, and the organization said they will continue the discussions all year.
Phillies And Dodgers Might Be Interested Too
The Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers are two of the popular names that are emerging as possible destinations for Harper. The Phillies, in particular, is a favorite bet because it has the money to acquire Harper. In addition, the team has been restructuring, which is hoped to propel the team forward. Adding Harper would help the Phillies see a huge jump in their games, NJ.com suggests.
The Dodgers also have money to burn for Harper, and their future needs might incline them to want someone like Harper, who grew up in LA, in their rotation. The question, though, is if top executive Andrew Friedman would be willing to ignore his history of not getting into big free agent deals, according to the Washington Post.
"You're always looking at your payroll over a multiyear horizon," Friedman said, according to the publication. "And who's available in different classes. And what your actual needs are... Having flexibility — even if you can't associate it with a specific name right now, flexibility is always a good thing."
Friedman added that looking forward to the next three to five years, he feels that the Dodgers are in a good position regarding their young players, veteran core, and financial flexibility.
Bryce Harper, a five-time All-Star, is expected to seal a multi-year deal of up to $500 million, which would be record-breaking. The largest deal in MLB's history so far is the $325 million that Giancarlo Stanton received. Many teams would be interested in Harper, but fans will have to find out how serious they are to sign him.