- The Washington Times - Monday, February 28, 2022

Bryce Harper is considering Plan B. 

As Major League Baseball’s lockout negotiations drag on, the reigning National League MVP jokingly offered his services to a Japanese professional baseball team on Instagram Monday. 

“Aye @Yomiuri.Giants you up? Got some time to kill,” Harper posted along with a photoshopped picture of him in a jersey that says “Tokyo.” 

He then directed the team to the account of his agent, Scott Boras.

“I know you got @borascorp number. Let’s talk,” Harper added. 

The Phillies outfielder posted the joke to his Instagram story amid lockout negotiations between the league and the players’ union. If the two sides don’t reach a new collective bargaining agreement by Monday evening, the league has said regular-season games will be canceled. According to The Athletic’s Evan Drellich, MLB officials have indicated the league is willing to miss a month of games. 

While Harper was likely joking about playing for the Yomiuri Giants in Nippon Professional Baseball — the same league 2021 AL MVP Shohei Ohtani played for — it is possible that players would be allowed to play internationally during a lockout. 

“The [players’ association] would challenge any attempts by MLB to interfere with players who choose to participate in a foreign league during a lockout,” reads the work stoppage guide provided by the union to agents, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. “During the 2004-05 work stoppage, a large number of NHL players chose to play internationally.”

Harper was far from the only player to comment about the negotiations on Monday.

“Players are used to their ‘threats,’” tweeted Yankees pitcher Jameson Taillon. “Owners actions have made it clear all along that they have a set [number] of games where they still make profits/get TV money. They don’t want to play. It’s sad that these are the guys who drive the direction and “future”of our amazing sport.”

Joey Gallo also found a funny way to post his feelings about a potential work stoppage. The strikeout-prone Yankees slugger posted his self-deprecating LinkedIn profile, which included skills “hitting into the shift” and “striking out.” 

Harper’s post comes nearly three years to the day that he left the Washington Nationals to sign a massive contract with the Phillies.

On March 2, 2019, Harper and Philadelphia agreed to a 13-year, $330 million contract that broke the record at the time for the most lucrative MLB contract. That record has since been broken four times by Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Francisco Lindor and Fernando Tatis Jr.

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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