Yankees Editorial: Bryce Harper must be the Yankees target of the future


As the New York Yankees have completed a two-game series versus the Washington Nationals, they have finally gotten the chance to see Bryce Harper play.  While the Yankees faced Harper in 2012, he was a 19-year-old rookie filled with potential, not the breakout star and MVP candidate he has become in 2015.

Harper, who has arguably been the best hitter in baseball, won’t be a free agent until after the 2018 season, but he will be only 25 years old and should be in the heart of his prime.  While Harper has put up video-game like numbers early on, what makes it even more impressive is that he has done so playing in a pitcher’s park.  His stats would surely increase playing in Yankee Stadium, which is built for hitters such as Harper.

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There are always rumors surrounding great players joining the Yankees, due simply to their payroll, and desire for stars.  When those stars want to be Yankees it makes the rumors heat up even more, and apparently Harper has a goal to become a Yankee before his career is done:

"It’s not just that he apparently wants to be a great Yankee, though that is part of it. Harper idolizes Yankeezs legend Mickey Mantle. He’s openly rooted for the Yankees on Twitter. And according to a guy who wrote the actual book on Harper, it’s “been a goal” of his to end up in pinstripes."

Not only is Harper’s desire to be a Yankee something to look at, but so too is the Yankees future.  With attendance, and TV ratings dropping, the Yankees need a star like Harper.  By 2018, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and others could be stars, but at that point they surely will not be on Harper’s level of stardom.

By the time Harper hits free agency, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley, Andrew Miller, and potentially Brian McCann all will be off of the Yankees books.  Even if McCann remains, only Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brett Gardner will be joining him making big money for the Yankees, although Michael Pineda could and should be extended by then.

Assuming Pineda is extended (let’s say for $20 million per year), and McCann’s team option vests or is picked up, the Yankees will still only have $80 million on the books.  While this money would be tied into five players, the Yankees also will have a young core under cheap team control.  Besides the aforementioned Severino, Judge, and Bird, Rob Refsnyder and Jacob Lindgren surely will be in the Bronx.  Jose Pirela and Dellin Betances will still be under team control.

With a young core, Harper would fit right in, and with six years under his belt, could be a veteran presence to a young core.  Signing Harper to a ten-year deal would lock him up until he is 35.  The Yankees have showed reluctance to giving long-term big money deals to players on the wrong side of 30, but Harper will only be 25, so this is a rare circumstance where age is not an issue.

Harper and the Nationals also haven’t been on great terms, and Scott Boras, baseball’s best agent, isn’t planning to take a team-friendly deal.  Harper is a perfect player for the Yankees, and by 2018, him and Mike Trout could be the two best players in the game.  The Yankees should surely attempt to pry Harper away from the Nationals, regardless of the cost.

Next: Yankees Editorial: Judge Leads Outfield Resurgence for Yankees Farm System

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