Hall of Famer and lifelong Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. thinks Bryce Harper "is a fit anywhere."
On 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies radio show, Ripken also said the market is wide open for Harper and Manny Machado.
"We’re not willing to give 10- or 12-year deals anymore, but you’re willing to go higher annual salary. So if that’s the case, you’re going to have more people that have a chance to kind of come in late and say, ‘well what about us?’ If you’re willing to sign one-year, two-year deal," the possibilities are endless, according to Ripken.
However, Ripken continued, "I got to imagine that both Manny and Bryce would sign five-year deals. But I don’t know that 10-year deals are out there anymore. If it’s a five-year or if you’re a team that wants to go really, really, high for one or two, you might tempt them."
With that being said, Ripken also noted the obvious: Haroer should go where he has the opportunity to win.
"If I was Bryce, and you are looking for an opportunity, winning is the most important thing," Ripken said. "If I had one mini regret in my whole career, I wish I would have been in the playoffs more."
Ripken is also unsure when Harper could sign by, but suggests from experience it should be early in March.
After discussing his shortened spring training after the 1994-95 league strike earlier in the interview, Ripken raved about the three weeks of spring training players had and circled back when discussing Harper’s free agency timeline.
"I would think three weeks [of spring training] is a good time for a regular player. So I think Bryce has a little room to play with if he wants to push it. I would make sure I had three weeks to get ready for the season."
Getting to ballpark of the Palm Beaches by March 3rd would give Harper exactly "three weeks of facing pitchers and trying to get yourself from off-season mode, hitting off a tee and a machine to getting back to live pitching," the perfect amount of time according to 19-time All-Star Ripken.
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