The battle for Bryce Harper is all anyone can talk about in Washington, D.C. and at Nationals Spring Training in West Palm Beach, Florida. Apparently, it’s all anyone can talk about anywhere.
This week on D.C. Sports Live, MLB insiders from NBC Sports regional networks around the country gathered to discuss the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, while making predictions on where the coveted slugger would end up playing in 2019 and beyond.
There wasn’t one consensus pick among the four insiders, though none of them predicted San Diego or Chicago as Harper’s final destination. The Giants, Phillies, and Nationals themselves seemingly stand out from the pack as the most likely options, though of course that is subject to change at any point.
“I think there’s a very slight, slight chance that he returns to the Nationals,” said NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas. “Those are very low odds to me.”
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area felt differently from Dybas, thanks to a conversation with one of the Giants.
“I asked a player this today, and he predicted the Nationals,” Pavlovic said. “So I’m going to go with him.”
While the Phillies have long been viewed as one of the favorites, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s insider, Jim Salisbury, agreed with Pavlovic, saying he still thinks “there’s a chance he ends up back with the Nationals.”
Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago rounded out the predictions by saying the Phillies make a lot of sense.
Interestingly, none of the insiders except Salisbury seemed too confident in the teams they personally cover as Harper’s final destination. Pavlovic feels the Giants aren’t interested in giving any player $100 million, let alone the rumored $300 million the Nationals offered, meaning it would be difficult for San Francisco to reach a number Harper likes.
The Phillies obviously have money and a need on the roster, but Salisbury feels the organization isn’t too picky between Harper or the other remaining big fish, Manny Machado.
“At this point here in Philadelphia, it’s a jump ball between Machado and Harper,” Salisbury described. “And whoever wants it, come and get it, and you’ll be a Phillie.”
The game of musical chairs between the teams, Harper, Machado, and every other free agent is still alive and well. It’s clear from the roundtable that no one is really sure where Harper will end up. We’re all playing the same waiting game when it comes to the superstar.
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