Report: Bryce Harper sweepstakes down to four teams
The San Diego Padres are expected to meet with Bryce Harper this week, and they are apparently planning to do more than just kick the tires on the free agent outfielder.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that there is an “overwhelming likelihood” Harper will sign with one of four teams, and the Padres are among them. The other three are the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox.
Bryce Harper has four active suitors as February nears, source confirms: #Nationals, #Phillies, #WhiteSox, and now #Padres. At least one other team remains involved on periphery, but overwhelming likelihood is he will sign with one of those four clubs. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 31, 2019
The Padres are the big surprise, as they typically would not be in on a free agent who is expected to command somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 million. They had the seventh-lowest payroll in baseball last season at just over $100 million, which means Harper would account for somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 percent of all of their player salaries combined.
That said, the Padres have a number of players on their roster who are under team control for years to come. It would take a lot to turn things around from their 66-win season in 2018, but perhaps they are willing to spend to make that happen. Harper is a Scott Boras client, and history tells us that means he will sign with the highest bidder. Considering they are also reportedly taking a close look at Manny Machado, it’s possible the Padres are willing to be that team.
The reports about Harper have been all over the place, though one team has seemed like the favorite for quite some time now. While it would still be a huge surprise if he signed with the Padres, the possibility is apparently a legitimate one.