The Bryce Harper melodrama finally came to an end when the superstar outfielder inked a record breaking 13-year 330 million dollar deal (my god baseball badly needs a hard salary cap), with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday afternoon. The Dodgers and Giants were also reportedly still in the mix but neither west coast team came away with the super star. Of course as I predicted many months ago, the Dodgers would not be signing Bryce Harper, despite reports that they were SOOOOOOOO “in on him”.
I hate to be all “I told you so” or something. I hate it when writers do that. In this instance I really do have to. It’s not that the Dodgers weren’t interested in Harper, surely they were. Everyone was. It was the fact that the Dodgers were not going to do what was necessary to get him into Dodger blue. Because believe me, if the Dodgers really wanted to get Harper, they would have made it happen. Certainly they can afford him.
The problem was that everyone foolishly thought that the Dodgers stupid salary dumping and trading of solid regulars for absolutely nothing (Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood to the Reds) was not a precursor to getting Harper. Again as I predicted it was just for dumping salary, creating roster space and being small market minded. It’s plain and simple.
It’s been four years and Andrew Friedman has yet to dish out a long term deal to a superstar, ad likely never will. The Dodgers will never again be major players for the top free agents on the market, well unless Friedman leaves town and someone else takes over his role. We must accept this. The Dodgers now operate as a small market club, using analytics, player development, and penny pinching. They refuse to participate in winter meetings and they refuse to sign long term deals to any top free agent.
But there are people who may object to the possibility of the Dodgers signing Harper or any other top free agent. They’re objections are funny to me. They cite all these excuses as to why it couldn’t work or why the Dodgers “can’t afford to waste money”. It’s laughable.
Excuse 1– He’s too much money!
Answer- The Dodgers are one of the richest teams in baseball owned and run by a multi-billion dollar hedge fund corporation that generates billions of dollars every year. The Dodgers themselves generate billions of dollars in merchandise, ticket sales, advertising, cable television, concessions, and revenue. If the Dodgers want a player, they can make it happen.
Excuse 2– It’s a waste of money!
Answer- Why do you care? It’s not your money. If the Dodgers spent 1 billion dollars on free agents it would not affect your life in the slightest. Your money would remain unchanged. Your life would also remain unchanged. I could care less how much money the Dodgers spend because it doesn’t affect my life in any way whatsoever. Furthermore, rooting for an executive’s wallet or spending habits is weird, so stop being a weirdo.
Excuse 3– He would not provide value after the first few years of the contract.
Asnwer- Harper still has about 4 or 5 years of his prime left at the least. At age 26 Harper would provide plenty of value well into his thirties. He’s athletic and in good health. He’s a very productive player and would uphold the value of his contract.
I’m not saying the Dodgers didn’t try. Apparently the Dodgers offered Harper a shorter term deal with a huge average annual salary. Unfortunately Harper was only interested in a long term, mega long-term deal. All those reports of Harper only wanting to play on the west coast were totally bogus. He’s playing in Philly folks, thousands of miles away from his Las Vegas home. You don’t have to play in or close to your home town these days.
It’s not that the Dodgers never sign free agents. They do. They’re willing to offer contracts to good players, just not superstars. A.J. Pollock is a good but not great player. Joe Kelly is a solid reliever, but he’s no Kenley Jansen. David Freese is dependable, but not an all-star. So while we put this saga behind us and march towards opening day we can all feel pretty good about the fact that the stupid Giants did not get Bryce Harper.