Bryce Harper, Gabe Kapler reportedly ‘hit it off’ during meeting
Bryce Harper recently met with the Philadelphia Phillies, and it sounds like the free-agent slugger liked what he saw and heard out of Gabe Kapler.
Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports that when Harper met with the Phillies in Las Vegas, he and the Phillies skipper “really hit it off.”
Word is, Harper and Kapler really hit it off during the Las Vegas meeting, which could be another factor in Phillies’ thinking. Easy to see that: both quite intense— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 16, 2019
With the Phillies said to be in pursuit of Harper and fellow free-agent slugger Manny Machado, Heyman additionally notes that the positive meeting may have the team leaning toward Harper.
Phillies could still go either way on the 2 FA mega stars. But here’s why they may be leaning Harper now: 1) acquisition of ss Segura 2) Harper cachet, success at philly 3) great meeting w/Harper 4) competition for Harper comes from nl east rival nats, who beat phils for Corbin— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 16, 2019
Adding more intrigue to the Harper-to-Phillies angle, USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports that Philadelphia has “visions” of signing Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel, a substantial haul, to say the least.
The Phillies also recently acquired shortstop Jean Segura, lending credence to the notion that the outfield-playing Harper would be a better fit as well.
The Washington Nationals are additionally said to be still in play for Harper’s services, as a recent report suggests their latest offer was in excess of $300 million.
Joe Maddon, meanwhile, made it clear this week that the Chicago Cubs are no longer a suitor for Harper’s services.
While the fact that Harper took a liking to Kapler is certainly encouraging for the Phillies, money and contract length will continue to be among the major factors in the free-agent slugger’s decision.
Still, there will be no shortage of speculation and conjecture based on such inferences until Harper puts pen to paper.
From a broader perspective, the lack of free-agency action highlighted by the Harper and Machado situations inspired one baseball writer to argue it’s a “disgrace” that few teams are attempting to sign the superstars.