Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is slated to become the hottest commodity available this offseason, when the 2015 NL MVP becomes a free agent for the first time in his young career.
Now reportedly under the $197 million collective bargaining tax (CBT) and with an aging offensive core, the Giants will undoubtedly be in a position to put forth a lucrative offer for Harper’s services, likely to cost around $31 million per year according to Spotrac.
Longtime San Francisco Chronicle baseball writer John Shea believes the Giants will indeed do everything they can to acquire Harper, 25, next season, but concedes that landing the six-time All-Star will be a long shot.
“I think they are going to be all in and I think they are probably going to be either outbid or outmanned,” Shea told Murph & Mac Tuesday morning. “In other words, there’s going be a team that’s winning more now and doesn’t have an older squad, maybe an older coaching staff that might not be around for this entire duration with his new team.
“Why did Giancarlo Stanton go to the Yankees instead of the Giants? Well it was pretty clear that he knew it’s the Yankees, it’s the Bronx, it’s the zoo, and all that, but as well it was the fact that the Yankees were winning now and the Giants weren’t, I mean they were coming off 98 losses. They just cracked two games over .500 after the break, so there’s no guarantee.
“I’ve heard people who know Harper well that say there’s no way he would agree — even though he lives in Vegas — to the Giants, but I’ve also heard that he’d leave every option open. It seems to me that it’s a long shot but yes, they are under the $197, they made the trade a week and a half ago to stay under the $197 while calling up (Steven) Duggar and (Ray) Black, but I just don’t see it happening.
“I think it’s going to be a long shot but I think they’re all in.”
Harper is having a solid, but down season by his standards in 2018, posting a slash line of .214/.365/.468 with 23 home runs and 54 RBI.
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Shea on the Nationals, start from 1:50.