On Saturday morning, Peter Gammons reported that a source has told him that Bryce Harper would prefer to sign with the Cubs when he becomes a free agent.
"I have people tell me that Bryce Harper, really, would prefer to play for the Cubs," Gammons said.
This caused a minor ripple in the baseball world because it was almost understood that the Yankees had the best chance at signing Harper. Harper is a longtime fan of Mickey Mantle and grew up a Yankees fan despite living in Las Vegas. The Yankees have a lot of money available for when Harper becomes a free agent so all the puzzle pieces fit together.
Also the Phillies were another landing spot with a lot of money and a young core to build around.
However the headline was the Cubs, last year's World Series winners and an absolute powerhouse with young position players locked in and cheap. Can they actually afford Harper though?
Here lies the problem, if Bryce Harper signs with the Cubs he will not be giving them a huge discount if this rumor is true and he wants to play for them because money talks. Harper will command a contract north of $400 million, whoever that may be from.
Now say the Cubs sign him for that much, they are essentially saying that Harper is their player of the future and not star homegrown third baseman Kris Bryant because there is almost no way they could afford both and still field a team around them.
The only solution is that the Cubs won't have to pay Bryant post arbitration numbers until 2021 so they could enjoy three seasons of them both and then see what happens. This would be a powerhouse lineup that teams everywhere would fear as Harper, Bryant and Anthony Rizzo would be batting in a row mixed with youngsters Javy Baez and Addison Russell.
The main problem is they run the risk of making their fan base extremely mad should they have no money for Bryant when the time comes. Also should they sign Harper and he does not produce then they have a problem they can't explain, an expensive problem at that.
This is a tricky situation the Cubs may have to deal with when the time comes if they are interested in Harper too however I'm going to chalk this up to a rumor and that the Cubs won't be able to do this financially. Also they'd rather keep their homegrown player, Kris Bryant.