Chicago Cubs: Signing Bryce Harper, Manny Machado could handicap team

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Reunited with his BFF on the North Side?

Heading into 2018, Bryce Harper stood on the precipice of a major payday. Coming off a 1.008 OPS 2017 campaign, the Washington Nationals outfielder needed to just do what he’d done over most of his career to maintain that cushy status quo.

Instead, he hit .249, striking out a career-high 169 times en route to the first 30-homer, 100-RBI season of his career. So, depending on who you ask, I guess, maybe he did enough to, at the very least, maintain his insanely high value heading into free agency this offseason.

If you focus on his post-All-Star Break numbers, he absolutely accomplished that goal. In the second half, Harper slashed .300/.434/.538, while cutting down on his strikeout tendencies shown prior to the Midsummer Classic.

But his Nationals failed to reach the postseason, as the upstart Atlanta Braves upset the order of things in the National League East. With Harper watching the postseason from the comfort of his home, he knows in just a few weeks, he and Manny Machado will become the story around Major League Baseball.