Yankees swooping in for Bryce Harper would be epic
There has been relatively no connection between free agent superstar Bryce Harper and the Yankees. However, general manager Brian Cashman was similarly covert with Mark Teixeria back in 2009.
Perhaps this is my way of putting it out into the universe, that just nine days away from the start of Spring Training, and 2015 MVP Bryce Harper still a free agent, that Yankees should make he and Scott Boras an offer they can’t refuse.
Following a cryptic Super Bowl tweet sent out by Harper that stated, “Loading…” perhaps the six-time All-Star is close to a mega-deal with the likes of the Padres.
Then again, there’s the belief that Harper was echoing an Instagram post that Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins wrote in December. Come to find out, Hoskins himself, retweeted Harper’s tweet late last night.
So Harper’s headed to Philly then?
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Well, until the 26-year-old puts pen to paper, somewhere in North America, I still believe the Yankees are the ideal club to employ his wickedly exciting left-handed bat and excellent defensive ability.
As much as we love Brett Gardner, the consummate Yankee, there’s no way that he, the forever injured Jacoby Ellsbury or the unproven Clint Frazier should stop general manager Brian Cashman from making a play for Harper.
Considering that camps open in little over a week, would it hurt the Yanks to get a bit creative, maybe even wild — and offer the 2012 Rookie of the Year an incentive-laden one-year contract worth upwards of $30 million?
Rational thought says there’s no way Cash gets the green light from Hal Steinbrenner, as this would put the Bombers well over the luxury tax threshold. However, it would make a lot of us feel better for 2018 — you know, when the Yanks got bounced in the ALDS by the eventual World Champion Red Sox because exceeding the luxury tax wasn’t an option.
However, this is the second straight offseason where legit star players aren’t being signed. Though some of it has to do with their outlandish contract demands, this is the precise opportunity for ninja Cashman to strike.
As C.C. Sabathia recently said on his podcast, R2C2, with Ryan Ruocco, quality big leaguers are unemployed, yet the sport can handle it.
"“It’s crazy. So crazy to me,” Sabathia said. “I don’t know what’s happening…I have no answers. I just think it’s f—ing nuts.”“The game’s been growing. Every team’s making money so the salaries should go up. It is what it is,” Sabathia said. “If a guy is making 40 f—ing million dollars a year it is what it is. The sport can handle it.”"
So where does it end? If Harper is truly insulted by his former club’s $300 million offer, isn’t overly impressed by the Phillies and can’t choose between the White Sox or Padres for fear of never making another Postseason, then perhaps signing with a World Series contender like the Yankees on a short-term deal is the way to go.
It’s not like Boras or Cashman would come out and tell us if something like this is being kicked around. However, even Mike Lupica of MLB.com believes Harper’s best fit is with the Yankees.
"Harper, who loved the Yankees as a kid, is still a better fit in the Bronx. He would be a left-handed hitter in a ballpark, the new Yankee Stadium, with a right-field wall that looks closer than the one in Williamsport, Pa., does to Little Leaguers. He’ll never have Reggie’s home-run ability to create headlines and controversies, it’s not who he is. But I believe the Yankees, their ballpark, the stage and the city suit him better than they ever will Stanton. I also continue to believe if the Yankees had just waited — and passed on Stanton last winter — that “Harper’s Bazaar” would long be over by now and he would already be a Yankee.But Harper at this stage in his career, with the brand he has established for himself already, is made for the Yankees the way Reggie once was, back in another baseball time when the Yankees were knocking on the door and George Steinbrenner was calling the shots. It probably won’t happen, but maybe it still can. It should have happened already. Right guy, right team, right place."
While Manny Machado may have filled a greater need for the Yanks, that was before the signing of DJ LeMahieu. Not that you can compare Machado and LeMahieu, but Cashman gave the 2016 NL batting champ and three-time Gold Glover $24 million over the next two seasons for a reason.
And yes, Giancarlo Stanton’s contract would put a financial strain on any MLB franchise, but it’s safe to say, of all 30 teams, perhaps the Yankees are the one that could house both he and Harper, pay the luxury tax and still come out smelling like a rose.
The reigning champion Red Sox had the leagues highest payroll in 2018 ($227M); paying an estimated $12M in luxury tax penalties when it was all said an done. Nevertheless, I guarantee there isn’t a single person in Boston’s front office that would tell you incurring the fee wasn’t worth winning a title.
So if the Yanks were to take a page out of the Sox’s book, ink Harper on a short-term deal, giving him another chance at a massive payday in 2019 — perhaps on a team he’d be more willing to play for, what’s the problem?