We ignored, for the most part, Scott Boras’s ill-advised comments/attempts at humor over the weekend, when he told the Michael Kay on the Yes Network that when it comes to the future home for 26-year-old free agent outfielder, Bryce Harper, “We know who the team is. It’s already completed and done, but Bryce has told me that he wanted to tell you personally.”
His comments generated plenty of headlines, though he clearly, if you listen instead of just running with the quote, seemed to be kidding...
Will Scott Boras reveal where his client Bryce Harper plans on signing this offseason? pic.twitter.com/mlyPzsynqT— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 26, 2018
Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes even checked just in case:
Guys. Boras was kidding. I even checked on it for you just in case. He was kidding. Look. Beyond. Headlines.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 28, 2018
But that won’t stop all of the rumors and the breathless speculatin’...
After that chatter over the weekend, Bovada released the latest odds on where Harper will end up signing, and to the surprise of some, the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies were the current favorite to land the 2010 No. 1 overall pick:
Harper has, in the past, expressed his love for the City of Brotherly Love, telling reporters in 2017 that he always liked playing in Citizens Bank Park, where he has a .268/.365/.564 line in 50 games and 208 career plate appearances, over which he’s hit 14 home runs, more home runs than he’s hit in any other park outside of the nation’s capital.
“I love coming in here and playing in this park,” Harper said at the time, “being able to play in front of these fans. I enjoy being in Philly for a few days and playing against great Phillies teams.”
“I just feel really good here,” he added. “Ever since I came up in 2012, I felt great. It’s a fun place to play, a fun ballpark to play in. You see the ball pretty well here. I just let the rest take care of itself, I guess.”
Harper also, reportedly, asked former Phillie and former Nationals teammate Jayson Werth about playing in Philadelphia, with Werth saying when he returned to CBP for a celebration of the World Series championship he won there in 2008 that Harper, “... already has asked me about Philadelphia,” before adding, “Isn’t that tampering?” It’s not... really, but it is just another thing for folks to point to while speculating about Harper signing with the Phillies, who have $ to spend (and are often linked to Manny Machado, another big-name free agent on the market this winter).
If you’re interested in such things, the Nationals also landed on the list of teams that could end up signing Machado and free agent left-hander Patrick Corbin (who might make a nice Gio Gonzalez replacement/addition to the rotation in D.C.).
Harper to the Phillies? Is that a worst-case scenario? New York and LA... not as bad, but to Philadelphia? Ughs... [ed. note - “For the record, we’re still not convinced that Harper is on his way out of D.C. but we are clearly in the minority.”]
As for Harper’s last comments on his future towards the end of the season?
“My heart lies here,” he said before his final home game of the season, “... and if I’m going to play somewhere and have some fun and enjoy that, then hopefully I’m in those plans to stay where I’m at, but if I’m not, I’m not scared of change either.”