Well. Today is suddenly fun.
Given that it’s already mid-November and basically nothing has happened on the free agent or trade market yet, I started getting a little stir-crazy and connected some dots that probably didn’t need to be connected last night:
That was Bryce Harper saying that his dog, Wrigley, is his favorite animal on the very same day that he just happened to be met by TMZ at an airport and asked which city carried his favorite food (the answer: Chicago). Given the fake double blow-dryer video with his brother earlier this year (and everything we know about him as a person), I think it’s safe to say Harper has a flare for the dramatic, and isn’t afraid to turn something like his massive free agent signing into a spectacle. Point being … is Harper trying to not-so-subtly hint toward his final decision?
I mean … no. Probably not. I was really just having fun, and regardless of his dog’s name or favorite food, Harper’s decision is going to be about more than superficial stuff. Perhaps more importantly, we must still acknowledge the Cubs’ publicly-signaled lack of interest in ballooning the payroll further, a decision that could easily preclude a pursuit of Harper if it holds true and/or if no other salary is moved out.
But that’s not to say things can’t get interesting.
In fact … they already have!
For the first time in the post oh-no-they-won’t-be-spending era of the offseason, we have a report connecting the Cubs to Harper:
.@dan_bernstein reporting that the Bryce Harper negotiations are picking up steam and that the Cubs are among the teams "in" on the free agent right fielder. https://t.co/tJn6KQF40G pic.twitter.com/8UfoUewbBg
— Bernstein & McKnight (@Bernstein_McK) November 16, 2018
FEED ME THA RUMORSSSSSS.
OK. Now that we’ve gotten that out of our system, we should acknowledge that, yes, the Cubs may well still be dealing with financial tightness, and that will probably make things tricky as far as actually landing Harper goes. But it was *always* going to be tricky to land a guy that so many teams would love to have, and who is likely going to cost a third of a billion bucks. And maybe things aren’t as tight as the Cubs want the world to think …
In any case, you just want to see the Cubs maintaining a seat at the table, because you never know what might happen in the interim that could make signing Harper a possibility. (And note, before the money tightness stuff took root, Bruce Levine was reporting as though the Cubs would definitely be in on Harper.)
For today, then, I’m really happy to see a report that the Cubs are, in fact, keeping their seat warm at the table. For much more on why Harper should be a big Cubs target if at all possible, see our full profile here. And for more on the luxury tax implications of signing a big-time contract, see our look at the state of things here, and our look at the actual “cost” of the luxury tax here.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.