Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

Don’t Replace ‘Wild Horse’ with Harper and his $300 million price tag

December 21st, 2018 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

Adios, Yasiel Puig, the man dubbed “Wild Horse” by Vin Scully. Sometimes you were great, sometimes you were awful … but at all times you commanded attention.

(And a second “see ya” goes to Matt Kemp, who gave the Dodgers half a season of something clearly above average, before time and a creaky body reduced him to what had been expected.)

And hello, Bryce Harper?

I hope not.

That seven-player deal the Dodgers concluded with the Cincinnati Reds … a good move. So far.

They already had more outfielders than they needed, and Puig was already occasionally unhappy about not playing against left-handers, and sending him and Kemp (and pitcher Alex Wood) to the Reds to create some maneuvering room for 2019. I’m all in on that, and the drop off in tongue-wagging and bat-licking sure to follow.

Actually, just about any plan the club puts forward is OK with me.

As long as it doesn’t mean signing Harper, 26, for something in the neighborhood of 10 years and $300 million.

Harper’s recent seasons suggest he is not worth the investment. And pretty much no club has been happy about 10-year contracts once they get to the midpoint. Ask the Angels how that decade-long deal with Albert Pujols is going.

Many seem to think of Harper only as the 2015 MVP (118 runs, 42 homers, 99 RBI), back when a long career of big numbers seemed likely, if not certain.

Two of his past three seasons have been unimpressive, including the most recent, when he presumably should have been putting forth maximum effort ahead of his big payday.

Harper had trouble putting the ball in play last season, batting .249 and striking out 169 times. He also was was shown by advanced metrics to be one of the worst outfielders in baseball. At age 25.

The Dodgers care about getting on base and they certainly care about dependable defenders, especially in the outfield, where Harper bled runs at a scary pace. (Check the video in the link, above.)

He hit home runs, 34, but the Dodgers have several players they expect to put the ball in the seats. A more notable number? His WAR (wins above replacement) was a lowly 1.3.

Rather than commit something like that $300 million over a decade (which seem to be terms the baseball world already has settled on) … it has been noted the Dodgers have a shaky situation at catcher, and J.T. Realmuto of the Miami Marlins would be a big improvement. And if the Dodgers want another multi-tool outfielder, A.J. Pollock of the Arizona Diamondbacks is available, if a bit prone to injuries.

The bottom line? Signing Harper would limit the Dodgers’ options in so many other directions. It would lead to the team being near or over the luxury tax for years to come. It would indicate the club is OK with a bad outfielder who might soon have to play first base.

It would be rolling the dice — one time.

Better to retain the flexibility that got them to the past two World Series. Let someone else spend the $300m on



0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment