|John McDonnell/Washington Post|
Cool your jets, Red Sox fans. These rumors are still in their infancy, and therefore not that likely as of right now. Why? The outfield surplus. But, according to BoSox Injection, it could be a possibility if the Sox present the right deal. Any deal for Harper would likely start with the Red Sox own up and coming centerfielder, Mookie Betts, who started to show what he could do in limited time with the Red Sox. He had a line of .291/.368/.444 and 5 home runs in 213 plate appearances this year, so he could be part of a package for Harper.
It would probably take a lot more than Betts to pry Harper away from the Nationals, especially after the postseason he had - a .294 average, 3 home runs and 4 RBI's in 4 games against the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. That's pretty good, but even if they included Betts in a package, they would have a lot of competition for 1 outfield spot - you would have to assume Yoenis Cespedes and Rusney Castillo have their spots locked up for next year. So that would leave Daniel Nava, Harper, and Jackie Bradley Jr. competing for 1 spot, and you know Harper isn't going to want to platoon it with those guys.
Of course, a possibility is the Red Sox trade 1 or 2 of the spare outfielders for a starting pitcher (which they actually need), then trade for Harper. That way, you have Harper, Cespedes and Castillo starting and you have Nava or JBJ, depending on who's still here, as backups and you also have Brock Holt as a utlity player who can fill in at any of the positions. We're going to assume here that Betts is either part of a Bryce Harper deal or a possible Cole Hamels deal.
It's fun to speculate, which is all this is, because Bryce Harper is a great young talent, but I don't see it happening. I said it before - the Red Sox have an overload in the outfield right now and would have to move at least 2 of their outfielders, meaning Betts, JBJ, or Nava. Again, Cespedes (assuming he isn't traded) and Castillo should have their spots locked up next year, so it would probably be one of the 3 guys I mentioned before. This is all speculation, though. I like Harper when he's playing well, but the Red Sox front office has to focus on pitching first.
Thoughts? Let me know on Twitter or leave a comment.