I want to be crystal clear up front that, were you inclined, you could very easily find 10 articles from great sources right at this very moment that indicate the Cubs are not pursuing free agent beast Bryce Harper. Although I might play some semantics with the words, I don’t have any reason to doubt the veracity of those many reports.
The Cubs are not currently pursuing Bryce Harper. Maybe if something changes on the financial side in the future that could change (and note that top free agents apparently don’t sign until February these days). I don’t want to sell you on something that isn’t real.
I *DO* however think it’s fair to point out when reports out there leave open the slightest crack in the hope door, and that’s where Mark Feinsand comes in at MLB.com.
In his post-Winter-Meetings wrap, the very-well-connected Feinsand describes the Harper market in this way:
“Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, met with clubs at their suite at the Aria Resort and Casino this week, getting a feel for the superstar outfielder’s market. The Phillies and White Sox appear to have serious interest, though teams including the Cubs and Dodgers are also monitoring the situation. The Yankees insist they’re not in on Harper, taking a big-market club out of the picture.”
If you’re looking at that paragraph with a pessimistic lens – who could blame you? guard your heart! – you would say that’s little more than what we already know and believe to be true. The Cubs are not actively pursuing Harper, but if something major changes in the near future, then maybe they will.
If your glass is half full today, though, you note that Feinsand mentioned only TWO teams with serious interest, and then only TWO teams as looming threats, while explicitly knocking the Yankees out. That is to say, you could read this as suggesting the Cubs are as much a looming threat for Harper as the Dodgers … whom I would currently regard as the most likely non-Phillies team to sign him.
Put that way, this would be the most positive report we’ve seen about the Cubs and Harper since Bruce Levine mentioned unspecified “rumblings” that Cubs ownership had signed off on the possibility of considering a major expenditure. If you want to be hopeful, then, today is your day!
Happy Friday or something!