Bryce Harper’s free agency has been one of the most widely anticipated and covered free agencies in recent memory. There are daily updates aimed at desperate fanbases regarding the coveted outfielder. While he has been linked to a few teams in the media, it has been reported that there are multiple “mystery teams” involved in talks as well. Take a look at some of the most popular teams in terms of betting odds to land Harper:
The Phillies have been the front-runner to land Harper ever since their meeting with him in mid-January. If he were to be signed, Harper would oust Nick Williams, who hit .253 last season. Williams would likely be traded or released after being replaced. The Phillies make the most sense, but he would also be arguably the best player on the team.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox might not be the front-runners, but they can definitely afford Harper. One thing drawing the young star to the South Side could be the fact that he would be a big fish in a medium-sized pond (they share the large pond with the Cubs). Also, while they may not be a contender during the 2019 season, the White Sox have a ton of young talent coming up, most notably outfielder Eloy Jimenez.
While it isn’t extremely likely (the Sox have been more interested in Manny Machado, as they are loaded with outfield prospects), nobody will want to face down a White Sox outfield with Harper and Jimenez at the corners.
San Diego Padres
The Padres are remarkably similar to the White Sox. They are not built to win now, but they could load up if needed. The biggest similarity, however, is that they are loaded with young talent. Like Chicago has Jimenez, who tore it up in the minor leagues, San Diego has Fernando Tatis Jr., who is ranked #1 in Keith Law’s top 100 prospects. Franmil Reyes is the starting right fielder for the Padres, but since they lost 96 games last year they probably aren’t married to the idea of keeping Reyes around.
Nobody knows what the slugging right fielder will do next, but we can expect it to happen fairly soon given that pitchers and catchers report in about a week, with spring training around the corner. Should Harper sign with any of these three teams, they will likely become a good betting play against some of the better teams in the league.