It sounds crazy right now, but when Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper enters free agency this winter, there's one team he needs to seriously consider: the Atlanta Braves. Yes, it's a division foe and there might not be a fan base that gets on Harper's case more than Braves fans. However, Harper is a former MVP who'll be entering the prime of his career, and those boos will quickly become cheers if the Braves pull off this blockbuster signing. Here are three reasons Harper needs to sign with the Braves.
3. Pairing up With Freddie Freeman
Bryce Harper has been surrounded by some good offensive players in Washington, but nobody like Freddie Freeman, who could join Harper as an NL MVP at the end of the 2018 season. Whether you put Harper in the No. 2 spot in front of Freeman or in the cleanup spot behind the Braves first baseman, they'd immediately become one of the best offensive duos in the game. Freeman's presence would give Harper better pitches to hit, and it's not like opposing pitchers can walk both of them all the time.
2. Surrounded by Young Talent
Harper wouldn't be joining a Braves team that's Freddie Freeman and bunch of other guys. Nope. This team is loaded with talented young position players, headlined by Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and Ronald Acuña Jr. On top of the position player talent, this is an organization that's flooded with young pitching that can produce on the mound or provide an ample trade package to land another star. This team is built for the present and future, something that you'd figure would be important for Harper.
1. Less Pressure
Being a No. 1 overall pick and immediately becoming the face of a franchise that's only been in Washington D.C. since 2005 breeds pressure. Yes, the mega deal he's bound to sign this offseason will bring pressure, but if he's in Atlanta, it will be tempered because he's not the face of the franchise. The Braves have a rich history, and at the moment, Freeman is the modern day Chipper Jones and signing Harper is not going to change that. All he'd have to do is go out and play his game.
Of course, there will be expectations, but he won't be looked at as the savior. The Braves would immediately become the favorites in the NL, but that's nothing different than what it was like in Washington.
With the amount of money coming off the books after the season, Atlanta will have the ability to put a sizable offer in front of Harper if they are willing to go after him. If they do, it'd be hard to imagine him turning them down because the Braves seem to be the future of the NL East.