Throughout much of last offseason, star outfielder Bryce Harper remained in free agency without a new deal in place. There was much speculation as to why the situation drowned out so late near the start of spring training, but it was a process that was filled with several teams testing the waters to gauge his interest. The Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the teams that presented him a lucrative offer that he decided to pass on to sign his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Harper recently opened up to his reasoning on why he elected to pass up on the chance to play for the Dodgers.
Dodgers expressed interest in Bryce Harper
Throughout much of the offseason, it was clear that the Dodgers had a keen interest in making a big splash addition.
Los Angeles needed to add another power bat to the lineup with the expected departure of All-Star infielder Manny Machado. They had remained in the conversation for Harper, but there wasn’t any inclination of what type of offer that they would present to him, given that he was looking for a massive deal.
The Dodgers didn’t offer those types of deals to players as Clayton Kershaw’s seven-year, $215 million deal was seen as an exception to that notion. They allowed players such as Machado and Zack Grienke to walk in free agency because of that lack of commitment to those monster deals over a long period.
Ultimately, Los Angeles presented Harper with an intriguing offer of a reported four-year deal worth $180 million that would have paid him $45 million annually. That contract was turned down as he elected to sign with the Phillies on then a record-breaking deal.
Why Bryce Harper didn’t take the Dodgers’ offer
Harper has stuck firmly by the decision to sign with Philadelphia in the time that has followed that move.
However, the 27-year-old has finally brought clarity to his reasoning on why he bypassed the Dodgers’ lucrative offer. During a recent interview with Barstool Sports’ Staring 9, Harper voiced that the opt-outs dissuaded him in the contract that would have continued chatter about his long-term future.
Then at the last second, the Dodgers came in with a four-year offer with a super high AAV with opt-outs. I got so tired of my whole career in DC even after my first year, all anyone talks about ‘is where is he going?’…When they came in with opt-outs, the Dodgers, I was like ‘I don’t want to do that because I just don’t want the opt-outs…I want these people knowing that I’m here. The good, the bad…
In other words, Harper wanted a contract that put an end to that speculation that dealt with throughout his time with the Washington Nationals. The Phillies presented him with a 13-year deal that not only met his desire money and also had no opt-outs.
Harper may have taken a lower average salary at $25 million a year over his deal with Philadelphia, but he got the long-term commitment.
Did Bryce Harper make the right decision?
Harper had his chances to play with a playoff constant in the Dodgers, who had the pieces in place to make a run at the World Series.
They have been arguably the best team in the National League for the last several years, and have the structure in place to remain in the picture for the long haul. The organization has plenty of proven talent along with young rising stars that have kept the ballclub on that path.
Only time will tell if this was the right choice for Haper to make for the betterment of his career beyond competing for World Series titles.