For years, it had seemed like Bryce Harper signing with the New York Yankees was a foregone conclusion.
Maybe it isn’t like we had all once thought. And that might actually be a good thing for the Yankees.
Reports have circulated that Harper’s preferred destination in free agency in the winter of 2018 is the Chicago Cubs. Despite the many reports of Bryce Harper wanting to play for his childhood team, new reports say different.
It would be tough to blame Harper for wanting to play for the Chicago Cubs. They recently came off winning the World Series this past October and are set up to compete for years.
Players like Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber are in place. Harper would make them an immense favorite in the National League.
So why would Harper wanting to play elsewhere benefit the Yankees?
For one, he’s really not a need at this point given their development of the minor league system. Aaron Judge has blossomed before everyone’s eyes and is now a fixture in right field.
Clint Frazier is also developing in the minors as well and he’s also seen as a future star when he gets to New York. Having Harper long-term could hinder Frazier’s development by blocking him.
Frazier’s name has been mentioned as to what teams want in rumored trade packages. Jose Quintana was one during the off-season. But the Yankees would prefer to hang onto Frazier and not deal their top outfield prospect.
The other benefit? Having to shell out an enormous contract that Bryce Harper is going to demand. Everyone has heard the $400 million demand, although, it’s only speculation at this point. But many feel that Harper is setting himself up for that kind of payday.
The New York Yankees have shelled out big money before, They’ve also tried to steer back from giving out those deals in recent time. Their emphasis on minor league development was once pushed to the back burner.
Now, the Yankees are embracing the guys they have in their system. They’re also relying on them to be the backbones of the future.
Players like Judge, Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and soon, Gleyber Torres will be the team’s core players. Eventually, Frazier will join them and be counted on.
Signing Bryce Harper to the megadeal he seeks would be the Yankees squandering their efforts to develop their own talent. 10 years ago, this move happens once Harper hits free agency in the winter of 2018.
But now, it’s not the slam-dunk move. If Bryce Harper really wants to play for the Chicago Cubs, then good for him. He’s earned the right to choose when he’s on the open market.
Now, of course, he could always skip free agency and sign a contract extension with the Washington Nationals. But he’d be doing himself a disservice to himself by not testing the open market.
Many Yankee fans have dreams of Bryce Harper manning center field at Yankee Stadium for 10 years. That might remain just a dream and not the reality we once thought.
While most don’t want to hear this, Bryce Harper not joining the New York Yankees might be the best thing for them. Especially for their bright future.