The market for Bryce Harper isn’t as hot as many thought. Should the Texas Rangers jump into the mix for the star outfielder?
For all my dreaming Texas Rangers fans let’s break down the Bryce Harper free agent situation. Bryce Harper and his agent Scott Boras entered this winter’s free agency looking to lock the 26-year old in a lucrative, long-term deal. Decade long offers were expected to be thrown around by clubs approaching with per year salaries thought to be over the $30 million mark. Flash forward to today and Spring Training is right around the corner with Harper yet to sign with a club.
Teams are reportedly hesitant to give the slugger a long-term deal that ties up so much cap space and questions are being raised about what he’ll eventually get in a deal. With the market for Harper quickly fading, should the Texas Ranger jump into the mix and try to add a star piece to their rebuilding organization?
My interest in a possible Harper and Rangers deal sparked Monday morning with reports that the San Francisco Giants are planning on making a big money offer on a short-term deal to the former NL MVP. Bob Nightengale of USA Today said that the Giants were not looking to make a 10-year offer worth $300 million equal to one that Bryce Harper rejected from the Nationals. This could open the door for Texas to swoop in an mix things up in an open situation.
Would Harper Fit On The Texas Rangers?
First and foremost, Harper is the type of talent that fits on any team. He creates a spot for himself in the lineup and in the field with his MVP-caliber talent. So the question is less does Harper fit and more so who gets pushed out. If there’s one thing the Rangers don’t need its another left-handed hitting outfielder. They have plenty with the like of Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, Willie Calhoun and even Shin-Soo Choo. Obviously to bring in a player like Harper means somebody has to go and that likely points to Nomar Mazara or Joey Gallo.
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Gallo is unlikely to get moved because I think there’s a bigger gap between how much the Rangers value him and how any team willing to deal for the outfielder may value him. Additionally, he has an extra year of team control compared to Nomar Mazara. Mazara also fits less defensively in the outfield than Gallo.
So Harper, if he were with Texas, could replace Mazara who could then be dealt for some young, starting pitching prospects. Defensively, Harper could play right field or even center if necessary. Probably a better fit in right, Texas could then move Gallo to left field with DeShields in center.
Regardless of position or fit, this is a deal I personally would love to see. Bryce Harper is one of my favorite players outside of the Rangers and I think long-term he could be a piece Texas could build around. If the Rangers were willing to offer a 7 or 8-year contract worth $30 million a year I would be on board and the long-term security might be enough to tempt Bryce Harper.