If we were so inclined, I think we could probably start an Obsessive Bryce Harper Watch a full year in advance of his free agency, and have plenty to keep it going.
The five-time All-Star, former NL Rookie of the Year, and 2015 MVP’s future continues to be intertwined with that of the Cubs – both because of his own trolling, and because more and more sources point towards a hoped-for marriage after next season.
The latest rumors come from FanRag, where Jon Heyman says, “There continue to be whispers that Bryce Harper could eventually wind up with the Cubs, where he’d join great friend Kris Bryant.” Heyman goes on to remind us (like we forgot) that Bryant and Harper are both from Las Vegas, and knew each other growing up.
There aren’t a lot of additional specifics on Harper and the Cubs from Heyman, HOWEVA this is further indication that the belief that the two sides will want to try to work something out is not entirely in our heads.
Moreover, you have to remember that we are a FULL YEAR away from his escape to free agency. This recent series of rumors would constitute a lot of smoke if Harper was a free agent this offseason. That there’s this much brewing this early, then, is fairly crazy (and possibly a good sign).
Heyman adds a significant, but still quite theoretical wrinkle: the Cubs may want to extend Bryant before adding Harper. As we know, the Cubs tried to extend Bryant last spring, using Mike Trout’s six-year/$144 million extension as a blue print, but the Cubs apparently wanted to go longer and, as you already know, the two sides couldn’t make it work.
Bryant, no doubt, is plenty confident to go year-to-year and hit free agency as soon as soon as his deal is up (after the 2021 season when he’ll still be 29). The Cubs, on the other hand, are probably trying to lock him up through at least his age 32 season (just a guess), which would dampen his earning ability once he hits free agency by quite a bit.
And given that Bryant is probably a safer bet over the next, say, decade or so (he’s been healthier, more consistent, and is a better defender/base runner), the Cubs would probably like to make sure they have enough money for him before breaking the bank on Harper.
You can see the dilemma.
In any case, I don’t think locking up Bryant is – at all – a must before the Cubs go after Harper, but you should keep that in mind as the next offseason/season/offseason play out – and you can read more about it here at FanRag.
In the meantime, go ahead and dream about a lineup that features Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, and Willson Contreras all hitting homers at Wrigley Field.
Fun. We like to have it:
One day. pic.twitter.com/vqjOHdf4W9
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) October 27, 2017
Couples costume idea. pic.twitter.com/38tQpb13aR
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 27, 2017