When Michael and I saw what Jon Heyman had said on MLB Network about top free agent Bryce Harper, the Cubs, and the Dodgers, we got excited. No, we still wouldn’t be predicting the Cubs to land him at this point, but because the Dodgers sure feel like the biggest threat to sign Harper, and because the Cubs had reportedly asked Scott Boras and Harper to check back with them before signing elsewhere, it kinda felt like a transitional moment from “it just ain’t happening” to “yeah, well, actually maybe the Cubs are still in this thing.”
Here’s how I put it:
Am I at all convinced this isn't simply the product of the Dodgers and Boras being good at public-facing negotiation? No.
But does it nevertheless make me excited to see connected pundits thinking the Cubs have a shot? YUP. https://t.co/vITYmEqTV4
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) December 27, 2018
And to be sure, Jon Heyman this morning isn’t poo-poo’ing that view, but he does want to make very clear what he was and wasn’t saying yesterday:
Just to put this into context, I was ONLY answering a question about which of THESE 2 big market teams that may be lurking — dodgers or cubs — is more likely to sign harper. I suggested maybe cubs more likely than LA mostly based on the 2 teams’ recent history w/ big free agents https://t.co/Q1WLpqBrGZ
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 27, 2018
In other words, Heyman is taking issue with the way Levine – and anyone else – might have been characterizing his comments. Heyman was not saying he thinks the Cubs are the favorite for Harper over, for example, the Dodgers. Rather, Heyman was saying only that, if he had to pick one of the Cubs or Dodgers as being more likely right now, he’d lean Cubs, since the Dodgers tend not to do the huge, long-term contract thing.
Heyman would not even suggest the Cubs’ involvement in this context if he felt they truly had not shot at all, so I’ll still land where we landed yesterday (and, really, where we’ve been since early November): if the Cubs can move some money around, or get some kind of special approval from ownership, they could have a remote shot at Harper.
That’s still a positive takeaway – especially knowing the Cubs did meet with Boras for three hours and do want to stay involved – even if it’s not Heyman saying, “Yeah, I think the Cubs are the favorite right now.” It certainly serves Boras’s interests to have it out there that the Cubs are involved and maybe favored over the (preferred?) Dodgers, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
The reality is I’m not sure anyone knows who the favorite truly is just yet, and that could include Boras and Harper.