We’ve heard a wide range of Chicago Cubs rumors already this offseason, including multiple versions of whether or not the team is in on Bryce Harper.
It was widely assumed the Chicago Cubs would pursue Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado this winter. That is, until shortly after the season ended, when Cubs rumors circulated around baseball claiming the team couldn’t spend this offseason.
Of course, that threw fans into a spiral – but now, we have a conflicting report. On Friday, Dan Bernstein announced on his radio show that the Cubs are indeed ‘in’ on Bryce Harper and that the negotiations with teams have picked up.
The obvious links are there with Harper. His best friend is Kris Bryant, his dog’s name is Wrigley and he’s mentioned how much he loves Chicago food. It’s practically a done deal already!
At 26, it’s very rare that a player of Harper’s caliber reaches free agency this early in his career. He has already won an MVP award, been selected as an All-Star six times and won the 2018 Home Run Derby.
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Harper is a generational talent that any team would be lucky to have. It’s anticipated that he will get over $400 million this winter. A risky investment, sure, but one that will be worth it even if the team wins just one World Series.
As currently constructed, one may argue that the Cubs aren’t strong enough to win the World Series again, and they need that one other impact bat. Harper is that high-impact player.
With the history of this front office and their spending habits, it would be a disappointment, and quite frankly inexcusable if they don’t land, or at least attempt to land either Harper or Machado.
Between the two players, there isn’t really a wrong answer, any team can make a fit.
If the Cubs sign Harper
If Harper signs on the North Side, Cubs fans should prepare for one of Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber or Jason Heyward to be traded. In my mind, Happ or Heyward are the likely culprit, since Heyward would be a salary dump, and it may actually be needed after that large of a contract is handed out.
But on the other side of the coin, unloading Heyward given his largely mediocre performance in Chicago the last three years could be Epstein’s toughest challenge to-date.
Signing Manny Machado probably signals the end of the line for Addison Russell in Chicago, for certain. There is one argument that Ben Zobrist might be on the way out as another salary dump for Machado’s deal.
The Cubs’ window is wide open, and they need to make a run at one of the big fish. If not, it’s hard to imagine another ring coming to the North Side during the next few years.