Yankees: Do Not Go Anywhere Near Bryce Harper In 2018
The Yankees, beginning as soon as next season, will have some money freed up due to expiring expensive contracts. This will put them in a position where they can re-enter the free agent market for the first time in what seems like forever. However, the choices the team makes as players they want to pursue, must not, I repeat, must not, include the young man with the big ego who’s currently playing (fitfully) in a town filled with bursting egos – Washington, DC.
Rightfully so, Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman, is making a point not to discuss any of the high powered free agents who will be hitting the market in 2017 and 2018. But that doesn’t mean that he isn’t working full-time with his staff in identifying potential fits for the Yankees, as well as working up a budget sketch that will be necessary to meet those needs.
The list of 2018 free agents, provided by Spotrac, looks especially interesting and appealing regarding the quality as well as the number of players who will be available. You can peruse the list yourself, but one name that pops right out at you is Bryce Harper.
Now, before I go any further, I can already read one of the comments that will be made when this story is published. You don’t “know” Bryce Harper. Well, of course, I don’t. But we make judgments about people all day long. Because we have to in order to survive in this world of instant messages and tweets that are designed to prompt a reaction. And no, I am not, nor do I claim to be, a psychiatrist.
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But the difference with someone like Bryce Harper is that we have a body of work to study and learn from. He’s done things and he’s said things. Just in the past week, for instance, he found it necessary on Twitter, of course, to advise the Nationals front office as to which free agents they should sign before Spring Training begins.
And you can expect that the Nationals would like to tell Mr. Harper, but they won’t, “You know what Bryce. Why don’t you take yourself out to right field and give the team the kind of season worth the money we are paying you. We got this, okay?”
The Yankees Don’t Need Any Of This
The Yankees don’t need this. Yankees fans shouldn’t want this. And it has nothing to do with what Harper has to offer in terms of his baseball talent. Although if you think about it, for the $400 million he says he wants as a free agent, what he produces on the field darn well should be a consideration. Even in that light, there should be red flags raised. We’ve only seen flashes of production (2015 MVP), but not any consistency (2016).
Everything Bryce Harper does or says is designed to call attention to himself. From the mohawk hair style to the film crew that follows him everywhere (deadlifting 500 lbs?), to his claim that baseball is boring – it’s always about Bryce.
And once he’s gone from the Nationals, you can bet there will be a ton of camouflaged quotes from his teammates attesting to the fact that he is a horrible man to play next to and with. Because, that’s the difference between someone like Harper and the recently departed Yankees third baseman, Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod had a way of bringing attention to himself too. But he also was a great teammate, and no one will ever claim that he wasn’t a go-to guy in the clubhouse.
The Yankees Have Plenty Of Straws To Stir The Drink
The pressure will be on the Yankees to make a play for Harper. And they just might do that to get his signing price escalating in the hope that a bidding war takes place and a sucker team like the Red Sox or Angels takes him on.
When the Yankees and George Steinbrenner signed Reggie Jackson, they were in dire need of a “straw to stir the drink”. And Reggie happily filled that role while catapulting them to World series titles in 1977 and 1978. But the composition of the team the Yankees are building now is very different from what the Yankees were then.
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The Yankees are sitting on a ton of young talent. Granted, it’s only talent and not (yet) production. But, we don’t need this guy. And hopefully, the name Bryce Harper does not appear on Brian Cashman’s whiteboard when the time comes.