Today, July 30, 2018, I receive a notification to my phone at 6:03 pm. I get so many notifications throughout the day, ranging from texts, missed phone calls, emails, and of course, sports information.
My iPad rings, so I decide to have a look. It states, “Indians Talk Harper Trade”(courtesy of MLB Network). Within five seconds of reading this update, my emotions ranged from “OH MY LORD NO WAY. YES!!” to “HECK NO! WAY TOO MUCH TO GIVE UP FOR A RENTAL!”
So for this article, I decided to put together and pros and cons piece of potentially (again, I say potentially because it is far from being done) adding Bryce Harper to the Cleveland Indians.
Why don’t we start with the Pros:
Pro #1: It’s Bryce Freaking Harper
Bryce Harper’s name is synonymous with baseball. When people say Major League Baseball, the first two players that pop into everyone’s minds are Mike Trout, and Bryce Harper. Bryce Harper is one of the premier faces/cornerstone pieces of Major League Baseball. His notorious fame started when he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at the age of 16 and mashing 500 foot home runs. He then received a GED, and was admitted into the College of Southern Nevada, where he played junior college baseball at the age of 17. In 66 games, he hit 31 home runs, 98 RBIs, hitting .443/.526/.987 (AVG/OBP/SLG). He then became the #1 draft pick of the Washington Nationals in 2010, quickly becoming one of the premier faces of Major League Baseball. With him, the Indians would have Harper, and Francisco LIndor, two of the most iconic names in the game today.
Pro #2: Harper Would Solidify The Outfield
When Harper first entered the professional ranks, he was originally a catcher. However, the Nationals made the smart decision to move him to the outfield, specifically right field, therefore diminishing any sort of danger behind the plate. Bryce Harper has one of the most incredible arms I have ever seen, and yes, I watched him live and in person. There isn’t any throw that Bryce Harper cannot make. His has worked hard on his outfield footwork/technique, and he has an extremely quick release, which comes natural to him as a former catcher. In an outfield that has Michael Brantley, and let’s face it, not much else, Harper would bring not just an impact bat, but an impact glove. He is never afraid to go and get after a ball in the gap, or at the wall.
Pro #3: The Dude Can Swing It
When Bryce Harper connects with a pitch, there isn’t a more beautiful sight to see in the world. His laser-like, quick hands attack each and every pitch with reckless abandon, and the power the comes from his lower-half/core is second-to-none. He has a career .277 batting average, .384 on base percentage, and .510 slugging. He has been a pretty consistent force in the Nationals’ lineup since his call-up in 2012. The man is a 6x All-Star, NL Rookie of the Year, a Silver Slugger Award winner, NL Hank Aaron Award winner, an NL MVP Award winner, and the reigning Home Run Derby Champion. Harper has already had such an incredible career, and the scary part is that he is only 25.
And now it is time for the cons:
Con #1: Harper Is Struggling This Season
Harper, who is a free agent after this season, is going to get paid. There is no sugarcoating it, the man can ball. However, he is having the worst season of his career. He is currently hitting .220 with 25 home runs and 62 RBI’s. Now his stats may show that he is still being productive, but here’s the real issue: he is striking out an alarming rate. He has struck out in 26% of his at bats, and it appears that he will easily break his career high in strikeouts, for his career high is 131 in 2015, whereas he already has 117 in 103 games this season. Plus, if we think about it, if Harper was his normal, consistent self, like he has been all throughout his career, the Nationals wouldn’t even consider trading him, because they could potentially be leading the NL East now.
Con #2: Harper is a Rental, and the Price is Way Too Steep
The Nationals would absolutely (and smartly) ask for a ton in return. Again, as a small market team, it is tough to give up key prospects, especially for a rental. Now if Harper had two more years of control, then I would totally be on board. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The Nationals would absolutely ask for Triston McKenzie, our prized pitching prospect. McKenzie is going to be an absolute stud. He has a plus fastball, plus curveball, and a developing changeup that will only get better. After missing the start of the Akron Rubberducks season, McKenzie has come back and dominated the Eastern League. The Nationals could potentially ask for Bobby Bradley, Nolan Jones, and maybe more. The price is too high.
Con #3: Harper has Struggled in the Postseason
As our World Series window remains open, we need proven guys who have been there, done that on this roster. Unfortunately, Harper has not gotten it done with the Nationals. In four postseason appearances with the Nationals, Harper has hit .217, with .812 OPS%. It is not a coincidence that the Nationals cannot make it out of the first round. Harper has struggled immensely when the pressure of the postseason is on him. When your superstar, face-of-the-franchise player cannot find a groove in the playoffs, it will be a quick exit.
What do you think? Would you rather trade for Harper, or stay far away?