Milwaukee Brewers Free Agent Target: OF Bryce Harper

Milwaukee Brewers’ GM David Stearns has been known in the past to send shock waves through out the league when it came to making acquisitions and trades.  Who’s to say he couldn’t make some noise at the 2019 Winter Meetings with another big free agent signing?

The biggest name on the free agent market is outfielder Bryce Harper, and one can only imagine what it would it be like to sign the twenty-six year old phenom to Milwaukee. It has not been confirmed that GM David Stearns has reached out to the Harper camp, but we should not rule out the idea of the Milwaukee Brewers putting their name in the hat to sign the six-time All-Star.

However, there is a concern. The Brewers already have a very stacked outfield with All-Star Lorenzo Cain, 37-year old veteran Ryan Braun, and newly crowned 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich.

How has Harper performed?

Since being drafted in the first round by the Washington Nationals in 2010 and making his Major League debut in 2012, Harper went on to win the Rookie of the Year in first season. He has since made six All-Star Game appearances, won the NL MVP award in 2015, and won the 2018 Home Run Derby.

Harper has spent his whole career playing in Washington, and instantly became the face of the franchise. He was also one of the key reasons that the Nationals reached the post season for the first time in franchise history in 2012.

Harper’s career numbers in the nation’s capital read as follows:

  • AVG: .279
  • OBP:  .388
  • SLG:  .512
  • OPS:  .900
  • HR:  184
  • RBI:  521
  • SB:  75

Harper’s best year came in 2015 where he was crowned the National League MVP.  Harper went on to have a .330 AVG, lead the NL with 42 HR and 118 runs scored. He also lead the Majors in OPS (1.190), SLG (.649) and OBP (.460), and drove in 99 runs. Needless to say that 2015 was where Harper’s full potential was on display.

The Nationals have made appearances in the post season four times with Harper, but they haven’t quite reached their goal of making it to the World Series. In fact, they haven’t made it past the NLDS each time they’ve made the playoffs.

Harper seems to struggle when it comes to October success.  Lifetime in the playoffs, he is batting  only .211 with five homers, 10 RBIs, a .315 OBP, a .487 SLG, and an OPS of .801.

2018 wasn’t a good year for Harper average-wise, as we saw him bat .249, but he did hit 34 HR, drove in 100 RBI, had a OBP of .393, a SLG of .496 and a .889 OPS.  Harper did spend some time on the DL this year, so his counting stats were down a bit.

What would Harper cost?

It was reported by many sources that Harper was offered an extension with the Nats for $300 million, and he turned it down. The first thing that comes to mind is that Harper clearly wants to play for a contending team, but also get paid like the superstar that everyone knows he is.

In order to maybe afford a contract for Harper, the Milwaukee Brewers would have to more than likely part ways with Braun by either trade or release him. Braun has two more years left on the extension he signed back in 2012.  So far in Milwaukee, Braun has made a little over $105 million , earning up to $20 million this year. Finding a trade partner to take on Braun’s contract would be a difficult task in itself, as he isn’t the player he once was.

Next: Could the Brewers target Ian Kinsler in free agency?

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Is it likely that Milwaukee will sign Harper? No.  But, this was just a little taste of what it would take to sign Harper and how we could be a huge factor in playing for the Milwaukee Brewers. We have seen ‘under-the-radar’ moves before, though, so don’t sleep on Stearns.