Sought-after free agent outfielder Bryce Harper has been on the free agent market officially since October 29 of 2018, according to the MLB website. But that was 17 weeks ago, and at least according to a USA Today report, the 26-year-old six-time All Star is finally expected to make his decision on which team he will join by the end of this, his 18th week on the open market.
But according to one new report on Monday night — a report that has yet to be independently confirmed — another team may have entered the chase for Harper at what appears to be the last minute. The Twitter account MLB Insider, which appeared to be the first outlet to report on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sudden interest in Harper over the weekend, reported at 9:49 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday that none other than the New York Yankees were now prepared to jump into the Harper free agent race.
But at 10:31 on Monday night, Pacific Time, the MLB Insider Twitter feed made another bold but unconfirmed claim. “The Los Angeles Dodgers are finalizing a deal with free-agent Bryce Harper, according to league sources involved,” the MLB Insider claimed.
Earlier on Monday, one unconfirmed report, cited by The Inquisitr, claimed that the team widely considered the frontrunner to sign up the right-fielder’s services, the Philadelphia Phillies, had given an ultimatum to Harper’s agent, Scott Boras — tell your client to make up his mind within 24 hours or our $350 million offer is no longer good.
“Another owner has reached out to Boras in the hopes of attaining his own meeting, sources tell me,” MLB Insider wrote Monday night. “Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner spoke to Boras earlier today, and made the request.”
If true, the news would turn the Harper saga on its head, and likely render the Phillies’ bid moot, with both Los Angeles and New York competing for the 2015 National League MVP. But the report appeared puzzling in light of the fact that earlier on Monday, the Yankees had signed another outfielder, namely, their own center fielder Aaron Hicks, who would have become a free agent after the 2019 season had the Yankees not inked him to a seven-year contract extension, according to The New York Post.
With power-hitting sensation Aaron Judge remaining in right field, the Yankees appear to have a full outfield and no need for Harper there. The one wild card would be left-fielder Brett Gardner, who is now 35-years-old and has only two years remaining on his contract, per Baseball Reference. If the Yankees dumped Gardner, or relegated him to a backup role with a hypothetical signing of Harper, either Judge or Harper would be forced to convert to left field.