The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be putting themselves in the mix for Bryce Harper, though they may be offering the free agent superstar a very different deal than what he could get from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bryce Harper Dodgers
Baseball executives are saying that Bryce Harper is expected to sign with a team by the end of the week. (Image: Charles Fox/Philadelphia Inquirer)

Dodgers officials, including manager Dave Roberts, have confirmed that they talked to Harper on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Harper, Dodgers May Have Different Aims

Roberts told reporters that the meeting went well, though he offered few details.

“It was good, just trying to get to know each other,” Roberts told reporters on Monday morning. “I think in the spirit of us, the Dodger, vetting a certain process makes sense and for those guys to do their due diligence as well.”

According to multiple media reports, the Dodgers are only interested in offering Harper a short-term deal.

That could present a sticking point for Harper, who has been seeking a longer-term contract, something Philadelphia seems more inclined to offer. However, there’s always the possibility that the 26-year-old outfielder could choose to sign a shorter contract now in the hopes of making even more money in his next round of free agency, especially considering the slow market for free agents in the current offseason.

Phillies Favored in Harper Sweepstakes

Even if Los Angeles has made an attractive offer, it seems likely that the Phillies are still the favorites to land Harper. Philadelphia officials met with Harper yet again on Saturday, with ESPN’s Buster Olney reporting that the team is confident that it will ultimately be the one to sign the slugger.

While it’s unknown exactly what is being offered by Philadelphia, Los Angeles, or other teams that have expressed interest in Harper, the final numbers are likely to be record-breaking. Harper turned down a 10-year, $300 million contract offer from the Nationals towards the end of last season, suggesting that he expects to get even more from his eventual suitor.

If that’s the case, it will become the largest free agent contract ever signed by a player in American sports history. The current record belongs to the deal signed by Manny Machado last week, when he joined the San Diego Padres for 10 years at a $300 million price tag.

Harper Expected to Sign This Week

With spring training games already underway, it would seem logical that Harper will have to pick a team sooner rather than later. That also appears to be the feeling around baseball, with two team executives telling USA Today Sports that Harper is expected to announce a decision by the end of the week.

Other teams that could still be in the hunt for the star could include the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago White Sox, and the San Diego Padres, as well as the Washington Nationals, with whom Harper has played his entire career to this point.

Harper’s value remains extraordinary high despite the fact that he is coming off of a somewhat disappointing season by his standards. The six-time All-Star hit just .249 in 2018, though he did still finish with a .889 OPS while hitting 34 homers and batting in 100 runs on the season.

Signing Harper could make the Dodgers the team to beat in 2019. Los Angeles is already a 7/1 pick to win the World Series according to William Hill, behind only the Houston Astros (6/1), New York Yankees (6/1), and defending champion Boston Red Sox (6/1).

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