Outside of the Omar Narvaez-for-Alex Colome swap and some interesting non-tenders (1, 2), the White Sox have been relatively quiet this offseason. With plenty of available payroll space and a slew of up-in-the-air roster spots, it’s time for the White Sox to crank up the heat. It’s time to reel in arguably the biggest fish of this free agent class: Bryce Harper.
Harper’s on field swagger is second to none.
Even during his down years, Bryce Harper is a force at the plate. At 26, he already has 184 home runs, putting him on pace to potentially reach 300+ by the time he turns 30, which while not terribly exclusive, houses a list of players who enjoyed great careers. Despite dips in his average some seasons, Harper’s lowest single-season OBP was .340. That was his rookie season. To say he has improved since then is an understatement. Bryce Harper gets on base, causes opposing pitchers to build strategy around him, and he hits the ball hard. While he may not be at the top of the exit velocity leaderboard (49th in 2018), it clearly doesn’t affect his offensive output. And, honestly, a 90.6 MPH average exit velocity is still pretty hard.
Plus, he swings as hard as physically possible, utilizing every single ounce of strength in his body, every single swing. Legend has it, Bryce Harper swings so hard when he hits singles, that sometimes his helmet flies off. Wait, no, that was a real thing. Nothing but unadulterated effort and attempted baseball murder in every swing. And, let’s be real, he’s got a confidence – a swagger – the Southside hasn’t seen since A.J. Pierzynski.
The youth and the flow.
Bryce Harper is 26. 26! It’s crazy that we have one generational talent like Harper hitting the open market so early, but Manny Machado is in the same situation. Both would be welcome additions to almost any team in the majors, including the White Sox. Unlike Machado, who rubbed some people the wrong way with his “antics” and comments during the playoffs, Bryce Harper has seemingly done everything right off the field as well. Don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely sign Machado, despite all the fuss. A young superstar who does everything right both on and off the field, still in their prime, and likely to continue maturing in the seasons to come? Sign me up, please. Harper is young enough to be the face of the White Sox franchise for a decade. He can be the star my kids remember watching while they learn the game.
If his stats and youth are not enough on their own, I’d ask you to think about the flow. That’s right, Bryce Harper’s hair alone (see picture included in post for proof) is an appealing argument to management. It’s part of what makes him such a marketable player. It’s a sight to be seen when he takes off his helmet. There was a commercial centered around Harper’s hair. He’s a good looking guy with a great head of hair. Combine that with his talent and his youth, and it’s a marketing miracle. Also, the mere fact he can hide that much hair under a hat and helmet is impressive. The dude’s got skills.
To everyone in the front office…
Make it happen. Bryce Harper is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. He’s on the open market long before most players make it there. A ten-year contract puts him at 36, which is an age at which stars still find success, despite being past their prime. We aren’t talking about signing Bartolo Colon at age 35 with the hope he’d play until 45. Although, as we know now, that would have worked out. If “Big Sexy” can still be somewhat competitive, there’s no reason to doubt Harper’s potential in his mid-30s. Whatever it takes – increased taxes, generous donations, etc. – get it done. We cleared some payroll with some non-tenders and opened up right field for a reason, right? Right??
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