12:35pm: Harper’s decision is expected to come this week, Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes. At the moment, the only three teams in the mix for him are the Phillies, Dodgers and Giants.
10:00am: The Dodgers’ interest in Harper is still on a shorter-term pact, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Harper and agent Scott Boras are still eyeing a long-term deal. Mark Feisand of MLB.com tweets that the Phillies are the only team currently negotiating a “true” long-term deal with Harper and agent Boras. The Giants, like the Dodgers, are still only interested at shorter terms than the 10-year offer Philadelphia is reportedly willing to put on the table.
7:38am: The Dodgers have jumped back into the Bryce Harper bidding and held a meeting with him as recently as last night, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports (via Twitter). Dodgers officials, including manager Dave Roberts, were seen in Las Vegas to meet with Harper. Per Jeff Passan and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN (Twitter links), the Dodgers re-engaged with Harper’s camp two weeks ago, although at the time, they were still hoping to secure Harper on a shorter-term pact. Harper, however, has been seeking at least a 10-year deal and has not budged from that thinking, Passan notes.
While there has not been any firm indication that the Dodgers are now willing to put forth a decade-long offer (or longer), the meeting is nonetheless quite notable at this juncture in Harper’s free-agent saga. Over the weekend, Phillies owner John Middleton also visited Harper in his home city, and reports at the time indicated that there was optimism surrounding the possibility of finalizing a 10-year deal with Harper as soon as tonight. That could still prove to true, but the question for many onlookers had been whether the Phillies were bidding against themselves. That no longer appears to be the case, as the Vegas meeting between the Dodgers and Harper suggests a rather sincere level of interest on their end.
Los Angeles has already added one big-ticket outfield item this winter, signing A.J. Pollock to a four-year deal worth $55MM, and bringing Harper aboard would give them a new right fielder to go along with their new-look center fielder. It’d also muddy the outfield mix a bit, leaving only one spot with Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger in need of at-bats there. Bellinger could also see time at first base, of course, although that would come at the cost of playing time for 2018 breakout slugger Max Muncy.
That said, the Dodgers are never ones to shy away from cultivating extreme levels of depth, and bringing Harper into the fold would create an extraordinarily deep mix of offensive options for Roberts. Of course, the Dodgers have also reportedly explored deals involving Pederson this winter as well, and signing Harper could also prove to be a harbinger for the trade of another outfielder.
The Dodgers already traded away Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood in what looked at the time to be a trade that opened both roster space and luxury tax breathing room for a possible Harper addition, but the only notable signing they’ve made since that swap was Pollock’s four-year pact. Adding Harper would definitively skyrocket the Dodgers into luxury tax territory, as they’re already only about $4MM shy of that threshold, per Jason Martinez of Roster Resource.