MLB Rumors: With All Attention On Bryce Harper, Market For Another Big-Name Outfielder Starts To Heat Up

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A big-name outfielder, still unsigned, is drawing interest from a handful of MLB teams as the market heats up with the start of spring training.

And no, this one isn’t Bryce Harper.

While Harper remains unsigned and deep in talks with the Philadelphia Phillies, fellow outfielder Denard Span is reportedly drawing attention from a handful of teams looking to shore up the outfield. As Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported (via Twitter), there are several teams looking into Span, including the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, Miami Marlins, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago White Sox.

Denard Span, 34, has proven to be a reliable center fielder and hitter. He also comes at a comparatively low cost, as MLB Trade Rumors noted. Span had already connected a $4 million buyout from the Seattle Mariners and would be much more affordable than many of the other outfielders — Harper especially.

“There’s not much power in his game – but there never was – and he maintains a good approach at the plate with the ability to put the bat on the ball,” the report noted. “He walked at a 10.2% rate last year while only striking out 15.8% of the time. The.158 ISO doesn’t make him a commodity in the corner, but a 112 wRC+ suggests there’s still a place for Span somewhere in the league.

The White Sox could be a frontrunner for Span, considering the team (unsuccessfully) tried to pursue Bryce Harper. At one point, the team had contended for both Harper and Manny Machado, and after seemingly losing out on both, they could still have more moves to make.

It’s not clear if Span would be a starter for the other teams that have shown interest, including the New York Mets, who have a full component of outfielders.

While there could be half a dozen teams looking to land Denard Span, it appears that the market for Bryce Harper is down to just the Philadelphia Phillies. The two sides met over the weekend, with Phillies owner John Middleton flying to Las Vegas to meet with Harper in person. Reports indicate that there is not yet an imminent deal, but at this point, the only other team mentioned in contention for Harper is the San Diego Padres. It’s not clear how likely the Padres might be to make an offer after already signing Manny Machado to a $300 million deal, so it could be the Phillies bidding against themselves to land Harper.