Why Bryce Harper will sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers

This is one entry in a five-part series about where Bryce Harper will land as a free agent after the 2018 season.

Come Opening Day 2019, Bryce Harper will be wearing Dodger blue.

There are a number of reasons for this, but let’s start with this: Harper is a homebody. He is extremely close to his family and his home town, Las Vegas. I think he would love to play in a city that is a short drive (and an even shorter flight) away from his roots, and that is Los Angeles. Plus, his mom and dad and all his buddies from high school can come and see him play regularly.

L.A. also offers a few more things he is looking for. It’s a big market with lots of TV exposure and endorsement opportunities. The Dodgers’ have very deep pockets, and it’s a franchise that will always be in contention. Plus, they need another outfielder who can hit — perfect fit.

How Harper gets to L.A. could get messy if the Nats are not in contention next season. If they are, they won’t trade Harper — there would be a fan uprising. But if the team is underperforming by the July 31 trade deadline, they may decide to get some prospects in return instead of letting him walk for nothing and trade Harper to a contending team. Whether that team is the Dodgers likely will not affect his choice of a new home team once he hits free agency at year’s end.

I keep having a fantasy: The Nats know 2018 is pretty much do-or-die. Harper, Gio Gonzalez, Daniel Murphy and others may all be gone after next year. So why not shoot for the moon next season? Have Mike Rizzo call up his buddy Derek Jeter and offer Miami Victor Robles (our “can’t miss” next thing) and Wilmer Difo (Miami wants to trade second baseman Dee Gordon and his salary) plus a couple of other prospects for Giancarlo Stanton.

This does several things — it signals that 2018 is Harper’s last season in D.C. (the Nats can’t afford both Stanton and Harper). It lets the Nats solve their payroll puzzle, because Stanton’s contract is already known for the next decade or so. And it gives us fans some confidence that there will be life after 2018.

Plus, imagine this batting order next season: Trea Turner, Harper, Stanton, Murphy, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton/Michael A. Taylor, Matt Wieters and the pitcher. Can anybody say World Series?

The case for the…

Chicago Cubs | New York Yankees | St. Louis Cardinals | Washington Nationals

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