February 27, 2019
UPDATE [2:20 p.m.] — Things may have just gone from bad to worse for the Phillies, who already this morning were seemingly trailing the Dodgers in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. First, there were reports that the Giants had landed a second meeting with Harper in Las Vegas, joining the Phillies and Dodgers as the latest to meet with the prized free agent for the second time.
The #SFGiants want to make sure they stay in the picture for Bryce Harper, with president Larry Baer and GM Farhan Zaidi meeting yesterday with Harper and agent Scott Boras in Las Vegas, as @KO_Crowley reported.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 27, 2019
Making matters worse for Phillies fans is that the Giants, who reportedly seemed unwilling to make a long-term offer, have now changed their minds, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. That essentially takes away the biggest advantage (a willingness to offer a long-term deal) the Phillies had over the Giants.
The Giants and Harper’s team have discussed a 10-year deal, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned. That would match the deal the Padres gave Manny Machado earlier this month and likely give Harper a chance at the record dollar figure he has been looking for. ...
The Giants met with Harper in early February and were believed back then to be involved in case Harper sought a short-term deal that would keep him on the West Coast. The Dodgers are thought to be in the same situation.
But the Giants, who met with Harper again Tuesday, per the San Jose Mercury News, are not afraid of a long-term deal. A year ago, ownership pushed hard for Giancarlo Stanton, and his contract runs through 2027. [nbcsports.com]
rock group baseball insiders Smash Mouth told us all yesterday that this might happen...
We are hearing Giants ownership/upper mgmt might not be on the same page as Zaidi regarding Harper. They want to offer a long term contract like they did with Bonds and Zaidi does NOT want to. Sabean/Baer step the F up, this is your team, not some slappy's from the Dodgers! @KNBR— Smash Mouth (@smashmouth) February 26, 2019
Seriously though, perhaps the most damning report is this, coming from former GM and analyst Steve Phillips, who paints a dire picture of the Phillies remaining offseason plans.
A source indicates that the #Phillies believe their chances of landing Bryce Harper are remote. The obvious question is whether they would pivot to Keuchel and/or Kimbrel. My sense from our interview with Matt Klentak is that they won’t play on Keuchel and only maybe on Kimbrel.— Steve Phillips (@StevePhillipsGM) February 27, 2019
Should that come to pass, it would be, quite frankly, a disaster for the Phillies...
The race to land Bryce Harper has been a marathon, not a sprint. And for fans, it's felt more like an ultra marathon mixed with a Tough Mudder, full of obstacles and flying mud, and so long that you actually believe the finish line is right around the next corner, only to be disappointed at every turn. And, unfortunately, the Phillies appear to be falling behind as this thing heads down the home stretch.
The Phillies have been the favorites to land Harper nearly the entire offseason — just this past weekend, owner John Middleton took an impromptu flight to Vegas and it seemed like both sides were close — but as we close in on an actual deal, it appears the Phils have fallen behind the Dodgers. Even the Phillies are reportedly worried about the Dodgers, according to Jon Morosi.
Bryce Harper update: Some #Phillies officials have grown concerned Harper will sign with the #Dodgers if they make an offer that comes close to Philly’s. The ability to play close to home and train in Arizona both appeal to Harper, who is a @Lakers fan. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) February 26, 2019
And, given the news out of Colorado on Tuesday, things are looking worse than they have in a while for Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail.
See, Nolan Arenado's monster contract extension with the Rockies didn't just raise the potential price tag for Harper, as he seeks to become the highest-paid player in sports, it also changed the way some teams are approaching this offseason — namely, the Dodgers, who had their sights set on signing the talented third baseman to a monster deal when he hit the open market next summer. Now, with that option gone, they're likely to ramp up their interest in Harper.
More on #Dodgers as possible Bryce Harper destination: As a wise baseball friend reminded me, the Dodgers’ front office was known to admire Nolan Arenado, who as of today is no longer an option. Suddenly, there is more room in the team’s future budget. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) February 26, 2019
Had the Phillies been able to get a deal done earlier in the winter, this wouldn't have been an issue. Yet, here we are, with Harper's agent Scott Boras working these teams into a bidding frenzy that will almost certainly end up with his client inking the richest free agent deal ever.
Which team will wind up landing this winter prize free agent? Some oddsmakers, who had the Phillies listed as the favorites last time we checked, also now believe it's the Dodgers.
BREAKING: The Dodgers are now the betting favorite to sign Bryce Harper.— OddsShark (@OddsShark) February 26, 2019
Giants +1200 pic.twitter.com/OlcpRMSVM2
Hey, at least from those odds it looks like a two team race.
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