Bryce Harper won’t hit free agency until next offseason, but the Cubs are already being listed as the favorites to acquire his services by odds makers BetDSI Sportsbook. The list of teams included in the prop bet consists of most of MLB’s financial heavy hitters.
The Cubs are listed at +150 to be Harper’s next team, which means a successful bet of $100 would return $150. Those odds are even better than the Nationals, Harper’s current team, who are listed at +250 to retain their franchise player. Harper is entering his seventh season with Washington, which drafted him first overall in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
Here are the full odds:
Red Sox: +750
Harper will be one of the most coveted free agents in MLB history given he’s a former NL MVP who will be on the open market at age 26. It’s rare for a player of his caliber to become available, and teams will surely line up to pay him a massive fortune, even after an offseason where many top stars received far smaller deals than expected.
He knows what’s coming, and recently told the Washington Post that he’s not afraid of the attention that might come with his free agency and a massive contract.
“I don’t want to really think about that. This is what I was born to do,” Harper said. “ . . . That crosses everybody’s mind — maybe I wanted to do this or do that. But I enjoy being a baseball player. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
The five-time All-Star is coming off a strong 2017 season where he batted .319 with 29 home runs and a .413 on-base percentage in 111 games. He’s had some issues with durability, playing over 120 games in just three of his six MLB seasons, but there’s little doubt about his upside at his best. In 2015, he ran away with the MVP award after leading the league in home runs, runs scored, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
The Cubs already have a talented outfield for 2018 with Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Albert Almora, but Harper would give the team a devastating group of power hitters. The idea of Harper, Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo anchoring the Cubs’ batting order would leave many a pitcher shaking in their cleats.