Rebel Media beat writer Chris Camello alleges that sources within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization have leaked that the team has reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, though the team nor the player has yet made an official announcement.
In a Twitter release this afternoon, Camello said the following.
“Regarding Bryce, my sources said there was an internal rumor within organization that #Dodgers have an agreement reached with Harper but it’s still not confirmed. I’m working to see what’s going on, but nothing confirmed or official yet.”
Harper, who rejected a 10-year, $300 million contract to remain with the Washington Nationals, will likely command far in excess of that total in free agency as a 26-year-old superstar just now entering into his prime.
The Dodgers, despite their deep pockets and inflated payroll, have experts doubting the match as it seems like an odd fit for the star outfielder as the team already has a glut of outfield options and has been leery of giving out huge long-term deals under the tenure of President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. The Dodgers have also committed to their investors that the team will stay under major league baseball’s luxury tax through 2022, according to Forbes, which would be impossible should they sign Harper.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) December 9, 2018
However, yesterday Dodger Blue reported that Harper “badly” wants to sign with the Dodgers, so perhaps there is some merit to the rumor. It was suggested by ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez that Harper would have to sacrifice the length of contract and its total value to become a member of the team. The Dodgers are also near Harper’s Las Vegas home, and appear to be the only team in the southwest that has the money and interest to sign him.
Harper was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers in August, and attempted to make a trade for him with Yasiel Puig as the centerpiece of a potential deal, but the Nationals rejected the offer, pulled Harper off waivers, and attempted to re-sign him instead.
Harper was the top pick of the 2010 draft, and reached the majors two years later while still a teenager. By the time he had reached the 2016 season, at 23-years-old — a season in which most major league players are getting their first September call up — it was Harper’s fifth season in the big leagues. Despite playing half of his games in a cavernous home ballpark in Washington that is favorable to pitchers, through the 2018 season he hit .279 with 184 home runs and 521 runs batted in, according to Baseball Reference.