Is it time to take a Bryce Harper short-term deal rumor seriously?

Bryce Harper remains without a team just days before spring training, and the Giants are reportedly interested in signing him to a short-term deal.

It’s crazy to think that it could even come to this, but the possibility of Bryce Harper signing a short-term deal could be growing by the day.

It still seems unlikely, however. We all know that Harper is looking for a 10-year deal worth at least $300 million. But at this point, we’re well into February, spring training is literally just days away, and the 26-year-old Harper — one of the most highly-anticipated MLB free agents in years — remains unsigned.

And now, according to reports, the San Francisco Giants have entered the Harper sweepstakes, but they are only willing to offer the star outfielder a short-term contract. They have no interest in breaking the bank and making a long-term commitment.

A few months ago, the idea of Harper signing anything less than a 10-year deal was barely even worth bringing up in conversation. But now, with the 2019 season almost at our fingertips, would Harper actually consider signing a short-term deal in San Francisco, and then pursuing a big contract in a year or two?

For the Giants, it wouldn’t be a bad investment if they could pull it off. They finished the 2018 season at 73-89, and they could just be a star player away from getting back to the playoffs and making a run at their fourth championship of the decade. Even if they only had Harper for a short period of time, it would be totally worth it if they could milk another World Series out of it.

But how would it benefit Harper? Well, first and foremost, it would give him a team to play for in 2019, something he doesn’t have at the current moment.

Additionally, a handful of teams have major interest in Harper — including the Philadelphia Phillies, who have been considered the favorite to land him in free agency — but clearly he has yet to receive an offer that has been to his liking. If he had, he wouldn’t still be unsigned. A brief tenure with the Giants would give Harper a chance to put any long-term commitments on hold for the time being, play baseball in 2019, and then pursue a big contract a little further down the road.

Lastly, playing in San Francisco, and going to spring training in Arizona, would get Harper significantly closer to his hometown of Las Vegas, which would be a big deal for him and his family.

But even considering all of this, it still doesn’t seem likely that Harper would actually be interested in a short-term contract. He’s barely in the prime of his career, and this is his opportunity to earn a nice fat paycheck. He might even be given the biggest contract in Major League Baseball history.

Ultimately, that will probably just be too much for Harper to pass up, even if it means showing up a few weeks late to spring training.