If Los Angeles Dodgers President Andrew Friedman is to be believed, the team does not appear to be serious contenders for Bryce Harper.
When a 13-year-old fan asked Friedman to sign the free-agent outfielder at an event Saturday, Friedman jokingly quipped “Who’s that?” according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
Some thought the Dodgers were gearing up for a big-spending offseason when they traded Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to the Cincinnati Reds. Instead, their biggest move so far has been signing A.J. Pollock to a relatively reasonable four-year, $55 million deal.
Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned with less than a month remaining before 2019 spring training begins. The pair were considered likely to eclipse the biggest contracts in MLB history entering the winter. Both just 26 years old and among the best players in the sport, their free agency is a rare opportunity for a team to sign a bonafide superstar in the midst of his prime—all without taking on any bad years on the back end.
Giancarlo Stanton's 13-year, $325 million contract is the largest in MLB history. Harper previously rejected a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Washington Nationals. Machado spent the second half of 2018 with the Dodgers after a trade from the Baltimore Orioles and was instrumental to their World Series run.
It does not appear like the Dodgers are serious contenders to re-sign Machado.
Their trade of Kemp and Puig seemed to be a sign of bigger things on the horizon, but Pollock's signing seems to essentially have taken them out of the running. The Dodgers could sign Harper and then look to trade Joc Pederson; it's just uncertain ownership is willing to spend the money necessary to make that happen.
The Dodgers were under the $197 million luxury tax for last season and are expected to try to keep themselves under the $206 million mark in 2019. The Dodgers currently have $192.9 million in salary obligations, per Spotrac.