Chicago Cubs face a ticking clock with Kris Bryant after Bryce Harper deal

Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs, you are on the clock. As Bryce Harper joins the Philadelphia Phillies, there should now be more urgency than ever to lock up Kris Bryant.

Well, the Chicago Cubs are officially out of the hunt for Bryce Harper. Initially reported by Jeff Passan on Twitter, the Phillies signed Harper to a 13-year deal worth $330 million. Just a tad more than what infielder Manny Machado agreed to with the San Diego Padres last week.

So, what does this mean for Theo Epstein and the Cubs? Honestly, it’s not good and could possibly come back to haunt them in the future. Not with just Kris Bryant but Javier Baez and Willson Contreras, as well. For now, we’re going to focus on Bryant who just so happens to be best friends with the now Phillies slugger.

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The history between the two goes back to Las Vegas when they competed against each other as children. From there, an unbreakable bond was formed and has carried itself to a league in which they’ve each earned National League MVP honors.

Unfortunately, well, fortunately for us, one of them has managed to reach the Promised Land, winning a World Series championship. That individual being Bryant if you have been living under a rock the last five years.

Prior to Harper signing with Philadelphia, these two Las Vegas natives and their wives teased a possible Chicago reunion. Or so we thought.

Get it done, now

Bryant may be young but he’s definitely not dumb. He knows that teams have money to spend and applauded Nolan Arenado‘s extension in recent days. Arenado, another third baseman who changed the face of a franchise, received a massive deal that will keep him in Colorado for the long-run.

"“You always look at what the other people at your position do in terms of their contracts and you compare yourself accordingly. Obviously, Nolan’s a great player – he’s been doing it a long time. Super consistent, tons of passion playing the game,” said Bryant."

Arenado inked an eight-year, $260 million contract (our own Alex Patt touched on this as well) to remain with the Rockies. If this, coupled with Harper’s record deal with the Phillies don’t motivate the Cubs to get something done with Bryant, who knows what will. The 2016 National League MVP is due to hit the market in 2022 and will earn a little more than $12 million this season.

Despite a dip in productivity due to injury last year, make no mistake: Kris Bryant should still very much so be considered a likely MVP candidate again in 2019.

If an extension is not presented before then, a decision to leave Chicago for Philadelphia could make the most sense for Bryant and his family. We’ve already watched Jake Arrieta depart for the City of Brotherly Love in recent years.

Who by the way is pretty excited – as he should be. Philadelphia had a tremendously productive offseason by landing J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson on top of extending Aaron Nola.

Good news?

On the plus side, Bryant has made it clear that he is open to hearing what the Cubs have to offer via Sports Illustrated. Which really puts the pressure on Epstein and the Ricketts family. Although, after this offseason, that isn’t the most comforting thought.

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Remember, Bryant and Harper once had the hashtag ‘#Back2BackOneDay?’ in a photo including the two. Since that won’t happen in the city of Chicago, the duo forming the heart of a lineup in Phillies uniform may now be inevitable.

The ball is in your court, Ricketts family. Hopefully, you know exactly what to do with it without turning it over. Time is wasting.