A wrench was thrown into the Bryce Harper free agency sweepstakes late Sunday night, with the news from the MLB website’s Jesse Sanchez that Harper had met in Las Vegas with representatives of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. The Dodgers are said to be interested in Harper on a shorter-term deal, one that would not come close to the 10-year, $300 million deal reached by Manny Machado with the San Diego Padres.
The Dodgers news has made fans of the Philadelphia Phillies, the purported favorite for Harper’s services, very nervous. But reporter Jon Heyman, in a radio appearance on a Philadelphia station Monday, said that the Phillies remain the favorite to ultimately end up with the outfielder.
Appearing on WIP’s Marks and Reese show in Philadelphia Monday afternoon, Heyman talked about the latest on the Harper pursuit.
“I do think the Phillies are the team that makes the most sense,” Heyman said on the show. “They got the stupid money, I think he’d like to play in Philly.” However, Heyman pointed out several instances from the past in which free agents signed with a surprise team that was not favored to land them, such as when Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners and Zack Greinke went to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Philadelphia, PA – Fans await for the Stadium Series to kick off, rolling out a warm welcome for Bryce Harper to potentially sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. pic.twitter.com/mUvx891kdu
— Heather Barry (@heatherm_barry) February 25, 2019
Heyman added that he still doesn’t see Harper going for a shorter-term deal, making it more likely that he ends up with the Phillies. He also called the Dodgers a “major longshot” to sign Harper, and that the Giants may be at a disadvantage since their ballpark isn’t a good one for lefthanded hitters.
The reporter also said that Harper likes the city of Philadelphia, and hit it off with Phillies manager Gabe Kapler during previous meetings.
“If I had to guess, I would guess them,” Heyman said of the Phillies, though he wouldn’t say for sure that they were the team, or of the timing for a signing.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported earlier Monday, per The Inquisitr, the same, that the Phillies, Dodgers, and Giants are the final three teams standing for Harper.
Phillies owner John Middleton traveled to Harper’s hometown of Las Vegas over the weekend to meet with Harper, and the two reportedly met for much of the day on Saturday. However, reports from Heyman and others indicated other teams were in Las Vegas looking to see Harper, and the weekend ended with the report that the Dodgers had gotten such a meeting