Per BetOnline.ag (h/t OddsShark), the Dodgers are now a +200 favorite (bet $100 to win $200) to sign the 2015 National League MVP. They are followed by the Philadelphia Phillies at +300 and New York Yankees at +400.
The Dodgers' bump for Harper comes after they gained some financial flexibility by trading outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, pitcher Alex Wood and utility man Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds for a package of three players—Homer Bailey was part of the deal but was released immediately after it became official.
Their current payroll for 2019 is $156.3 million, which doesn't include arbitration totals that Gurnick noted could add up to $20 million in salary.
Assuming Harper receives a deal worth at least $30 million in average annual salary—the same amount he reportedly turned down from the Washington Nationals near the end of the season, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale—the Dodgers will have to go into the luxury tax to sign him.
The Phillies appear intent on signing at least one of Harper or Manny Machado this offseason. Machado's meeting with team representatives in Philadelphia this week lasted over four hours.
Even though they typically have the deepest pockets in MLB, the Yankees are a surprise favorite on the list because there has been little connection between them and Harper. New York has primarily been focused on Machado.
The Chicago Cubs are an intriguing fit for Harper because their lineup can use his bat with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Their payroll is already projected to hit $208.9 million before making any significant moves this offseason.
Regardless of where Harper winds up signing, it seems likely the six-time All-Star is going to get paid a massive amount of money after hitting 184 homers in seven seasons with the Washington Nationals.