Did Bryce Harper want to join the Chicago Cubs in free agency? Maybe, but these moves kept the team from truly making a run at the superstar outfielder.
Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies reportedly agreed to a 13-year, $330 million contract Thursday, merely four months into the offseason. Whether the Cubs made a push for Harper at all is uncertain.
What is certain, though, is that several past transactions kept the team from being true players in the Harper sweepstakes. The Cubs’ payroll constraints have been discussed at great length this offseason.
As the team currently stands, the Cubs’ Opening Day payroll (including the luxury tax) will be about $227 million. Harper would have pushed the Cubs’ payroll closer to a whopping $300 million had they signed him.
How did the Cubs get to this point, though? Let’s take a look back on the key moves that pushed the team’s payroll to the sky and therefore out of the race for Harper.