The slow drip of news regarding Bryce Harper (and fellow free agent star Manny Machado) has formed a tower of uncertainty that looms over the hot stove market — indeed, the game as a whole. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess when, where, and for how much Harper will sign. As curious as the still-ongoing free agency of these players is the dearth of developments hitting the news wire and the evident lack of widespread interest.
Under these circumstances, it’s reasonably notable to learn that “at least 8 teams are still checking in on Harper,” according to a tweet from Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). While Heyman suggests that some of those clubs do not have much interest in a long-term arrangement, it stands to reason that Harper and agent Scott Boras would welcome any bidders to help boost their bargaining power.
Despite a limited cast of publicly known suitors, it has always seemed logical that additional teams would look into a Harper deal. With at least one mystery team chasing Machado, we’ve already seen that concept introduced, but it hasn’t been as evident in Harper’s case.
So, what teams might be in the picture that weren’t previously known? That’s hard to say. The Padres have entered the mix, joining the Phillies, White Sox, and Nationals as known suitors. Beyond that, though, there’s no real indication. Jim Bowden of The Athletic tweets, in fact, that he has had no success at identifying dark horse participants in the Harper derby.
You’re free to speculate in the comments, of course, but the fact is that any number of organizations could at least be kicking around the edges of Harper’s market. With as many as four mystery clubs evidently involved to some degree, it’s all but impossible to assess the lay of the land — let alone to foresee just how Harper’s time on the open market will ultimately draw to a close.