Jon Heyman is the leading rumormonger when it comes to Bryce Harper these days, as everyone is understandably desperate to get the big scoop on the big free agent. It’s easy to say it’s going to be the Phillies when all is said and done – and I do still believe that – but with Scott Boras steering the ship, there’s just no way Harper’s camp won’t be working aggressively to entice Mystery Teams even at the zero hour.
To that end, Heyman has long been pushing the idea that there are still yet-unidentified teams involved in the Harper talks, and was somewhat vindicated by the very late re-emergence of the Dodgers. Beyond that, he still seems to think there are Mystery Teams involved, and speculated as to their identity just now on the radio in Philadelphia.
A couple teams that have checked back in on Harper, according to Heyman? The Braves and … the Cubs.
Before you go flipping out (either happily or angrily), you should understand that Heyman is *NOT* saying the Cubs are involved in negotiations with Harper at this stage or anything like it. Only that he’s heard they checked in at some point, but that he *DOES NOT KNOW* if they are actually a Mystery Team, and he pegs them as a long-shot.
So, I wanted to pass along that info, but as far as we can say, nothing at all has changed on the Cubs’ front: they say they have no money in the budget for an expenditure like Harper, and Tom Ricketts also cast significant doubt on whether the Cubs would be into a 10-year deal in any case.
If there was a check-in at all, let’s just presume it was Boras calling Theo Epstein to say, “Hey, you sure you can’t get to 10 years and $330 million?”, and Epstein politely declined. Remember, there was a rumor back in December that the Cubs did want to get that phone call before anything was finalized, juuuuust in case something changed.
I don’t see anything happening here. My hopes are not elevated in the least, even as I’ll always look back at this offseason and wonder why the Cubs didn’t make some kind of exception to pursue a generational talent when he was just 26, available for just money, and when they were in the middle of a competitive window with similarly-aged players.