USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the Padres are no longer pursuing the free agent outfielder, leaving the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants as the last two teams with a legitimate shot to sign him.
The #Padres are ecstatic landing Manny Machado, and with $300 million committed to Machado, are bowing out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. The #Phillies remain the front-runner for Harper while the #SFGiants are also in the picture.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 20, 2019
Padres players and fans were already excited about signing Machado, but after first baseman Eric Hosmer responded to a question with a hint that the team could also get Harper as well, suddenly San Diego was losing it.
Eric Hosmer was asked if he minded dropping down to No. 2 on the Padres in salary. “Gladly,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind dropping to No. 3.”— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) February 19, 2019
That excitement was quickly extinguished by Nightengale's report. Padres fans still have a lot to be happy about, as San Diego could immediately become a contender in the NL Wild Card race. The Padres also possess 10 of MLB's top 100 prospects, giving them the best farm system in the league.
San Diego hasn't made the playoffs since 2006, so their fans are desperate from some October baseball at long last. At this rate, it's time to start looking at the Padres as the team to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West crown in the coming years. But they'll be doing so without the help of Harper.