Should the Braves Sign Bryce Harper?
David O’Brien, an Atlanta Braves writer for The Athletic, tweeted today that he has heard things that led him to believe the Braves are interested in pursuing top free agent Bryce Harper this winter. Shortly after, he followed up that tweet with another claiming the Braves would not be interested in Harper, according to another source he trusted. So while it is up in the air about what course of action the Braves are interested in taking this offseason, it certainly creates an interesting discussion topic amongst Braves fans.
Harper is set to possibly receive the largest contract in the history of baseball this winter, with most figuring he will secure a 10-year, $300+ million contract. I wrote an article a few weeks back stating I believe the three teams with the best chance of landing Harper are the Phillies, Dodgers, and Cubs, and I still believe that. If I gave a percentage of the likelihood the Braves sign him, I would go with about 0.5%. I’ve followed the Braves all my life and know their tendencies, which are not to hand out large, long-term contracts. If you’re a Braves fan, I think you’d be lying if you claimed you wouldn’t be the least bit interested in seeing what the Braves could accomplish with Harper in the lineup. He would instantly make any team a lot more dangerous. Harper had a down year this past season, but he still recorded 34 home runs and 100 rbi. I mean just imagine a lineup with the top four being Acuna, Albies, Freeman, and Harper. Scary. And with Nick Markakis a free agent and possibly leaving, Harper would fit in nicely in right field.
So while there definitely is a lot of intrigue, at the end of the day I just don’t think you can pull the trigger on a deal this large, even though the Braves have the financial capabilities to do so. When do long-term deals of 8 years or more ever work out? Never. The first 3-4 years the team reaps the benefits, but from there the deal begins to hinder the team more and more every year. If you’re the Braves you just cannot give someone the type of deal that Harper is looking for and be stuck in a bad position from it down the road. The Braves have other areas they need to address this offseason that would make them a more balanced team, while they are still loaded in their farm system. Be patient Braves fans, we will be making serious noise for years to come, we just shouldn’t go all in right yet. #ChopOn