“No,” Freeman said when asked if there was a point he believed Harper to Atlanta was possible. “I don’t know what his market is or what’s going on. I don’t know the numbers that have been thrown around. I obviously talked to him about how great it is here during that All-Star game (in Washington). We text a lot still.
“Did I ever make a play for him to come here? No. I never said – I’ve seen that going around in the media, saying how good friends we are – we are good friends. I’ve never been told to try to lure him here or tell him good things. I just tell him the truth of how I feel about Atlanta and you never know what could happen. Market could come down and you never know. But I’ve never tried to get Bryce here.”
The Braves ultimately made their biggest investment in another former MVP, Josh Donaldson, on a one-year $23 million deal. That allows them to further evaluate their in-house talent while entering next winter with spending room.
As perfect a fit as Harper might be – and he’d fit the lineup beautifully – he appears destined for an NL East rival, especially as the Dodgers reportedly make progress toward adding A.J. Pollock.
Freeman and Harper haven’t spoken since just before Christmas, but Freeman is aware the Phillies are ultra aggressive. He knows if their hopes come to fruition, and they add Harper plus another couple free agents, the division will be that much tougher.
But he hasn’t advised Harper on where to go, and he’s eager to see the decision as much as everyone else.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do. I don’t know what he’s waiting for – I mean c’mon, let’s get this thing going,” Freeman said, laughing. “I wouldn’t mind seeing him 19 times a year.”