Bryce Harper will likely see a record setting deal when he hits free agency. But, the Toronto Blue Jays will not be involved.
It’s not happening. Don’t even bother getting excited about it. If you think it could happen, you’re dreaming. It’s time to wake up.
Let’s set aside the fact that the question of anyone, let alone the Toronto Blue Jays, signing Bryce Harper won’t even come up until 2019 for a moment. Apparently, lots of folks are already jumping on board and looking ahead to when he does become a free agent. Many expect that he’ll see a record deal.
Some thought that the reigning NL MVP could be the first $400M player. To which the youngster with no shortage of confidence replied: “Don’t sell me short“. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs.com says that even $500M might be a bargain for Harper. In 2019, he’ll be 26 and ready to cash in big. Bigger than anyone ever has.
So, why are we talking about this on a Blue Jays blog? Well, apparently, there are some who might be drooling at the thought of their beloved team pursuing the biggest fish they’ve ever seen.
For example, at ESPN, senior writer, David Schoenfield lists the Blue Jays as a team that could enter the bidding. He thinks that because the team has only Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin on the books in 2019, they could make a run with the sudden cash they’ll find themselves with. Of course, Schoenfield has to be assuming that extensions with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion either don’t happen, or end before then. He notes that Josh Donaldson will also be a free agent in 2019 and that it would make more sense to go after the younger Harper.
Schoenfield is not alone in his thinking. Clark Mitchell of ChatSports.com goes even further and says the Blue Jays WILL BE THE TEAM to sign Harper. He doesn’t say they are one of a few, but THE team. His reasoning is similar to Schoenfield in that the club commitments by the time Harper is on the market are limited. Although, Mitchell also says that one of the players on payroll in 2019 is Russell Wilson, so…
Among Mitchell’s other reasoning is that the Blue Jays have built themselves up to be a powerhouse in the American League for a few more seasons. And, he may be right. But, can the aging offense continue to lead the way 3 years from now? Again, that assumes that Bautista and Encarnacion are in the fold. It also does not leave room for regression. Mitchell states that there will be an outfield depth concern by 2019 with only Pillar and Pompey regularly roaming Rogers Centre.
Then, his argument comes back to money. According to Mitchell, the recent surge in popularity should result in increased money through ticket sales and TV deals. It is not entirely clear that Mitchell understands the Sportsnet/Rogers relationship, though. Let’s assume he does and say that there will be some increased revenue. Does that mean there will be “Harper money” flowing? No.
Even if there is money to be spent, the fact that everyone is talking about how many players are not under control by 2019 should send some signals. If there are so few players locked in, a club cannot afford to drop their wallet at the door of one guy. Does that sound like Mark Shapiro to you?
As well, we should note that Marcus Stroman, Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez, Devon Travis and Kevin Pillar will all be free agents in 2021. That is just 2 years removed from this supposed signing of Harper. Do we really think the Blue Jays are going to handcuff themselves with one player when they’re looking at dealing with 5? And, that is not even to mention whether Bautista and Encarnacion are in the picture in 2019. Let’s say that Bautista is looking at a 3 yr plus an option deal, that would coincide with Harper’s timeline.
By looking at things logically, you start to see that a pursuit of Harper just wouldn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense for several reasons, but we haven’t even mentioned the fact that the Toronto Blue Jays (run by Rogers) are not going to fork over that kind of money for anyone. Ever. Period.
As a fan of the Blue Jays, you can try and talk yourself into why this idea makes sense. Adding Bryce Harper to any team instantly makes them much better. It would make sense to add him. However, it does not make sense that the Blue Jays will be the ones to do it. So, before you talk yourself into even considering how exciting this fluff would be, don’t. Just don’t. You know the Blue Jays better than that.
Sorry to interupt your dreams, but Bryce Harper will not be a Toronto Blue Jay.
*Featured Image Credit: Scott Ableman UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.