Report: Dodgers tried to trade Yasiel Puig for Bryce Harper
The Los Angeles Dodgers are usually in contention when it comes to signing the top free agents on the market, and that may be the case with Bryce Harper this winter. While it is widely assumed that they will not bring back Manny Machado, there could be reason to believe the Dodgers will be suitors for Harper.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers tried to acquire Harper twice during the 2018 season. The first time was before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and the second was when they claimed him before the waiver deadline but the Washington Nationals pulled Harper back, as expected.
The Dodgers have a crowded outfield that includes Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Matt Kemp, Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor. That would make them seem like an unlikely landing spot for Harper, but Castillo reports that they offered Puig as part of a trade for Harper. The Dodgers and Nationals ultimately could not reach a deal.
Puig hasn’t emerged into the superstar the Dodgers hoped he would be, and he’s under team control for one more year before he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. If LA does decide to make a run at Harper, they would likely still look to move Puig this offseason.
Given the astronomical amount of money Harper is expected to earn this winter, there are probably only a handful of teams with a realistic shot at signing him. The Dodgers have that kind of payroll, but paying huge bucks to one player wouldn’t seem to fit the current front office’s typical operating style.