Though the New York Yankees have turned things around a bit in weathering their early-season injury storm, there's always an old storyline that pops back up to make fans unreasonably irate even when there isn't necessarily a reason to be.
That happened on Sunday not too long after manager Aaron Boone's fateful Albert Abreu decision that broke the game open and gifted the Tampa Bay Rays a series split in the Bronx.
In Denver, Bryce Harper was ready to fight the entire Colorado Rockies roster after taking exception to pitcher Jake Bird's actions when walking off the mound in the seventh inning. Harper was ejected and the Philadelphia Phillies lost the game, but Harper stood up for his teammates and sent a message to the rest of the league.
Who wouldn't want this guy on their team? Apparently the Yankees, who didn't even give Harper a call when he hit free agency after the 2018 season ... despite Harper being vocal about wanting to come to the Bronx and the Yankees' need for another left-handed bat. An extra star player wouldn't have hurt, either!
The Yankees have proven from time to time over the last year or so that they're willing to fight and that they refuse to take nonsense from their opponents, but this kind of fire is different. This is championship-level passion.
Yankees missing out on Bryce Harper continues to hurt
Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman are reminded far too often of their whiff on Harper, who has been perennial MVP candidate since arriving in Philly despite dealing with injuries last year. He's slashing .283/.394/.546 with 314 runs scored, 103 home runs, 301 RBI, 48 stolen bases and a 151 OPS+ in 465 games dating back to 2019.
And with it comes this leadership and clutch postseason hits. Even though the Phillies didn't make the playoffs from 2019-2021, it wasn't necessarily Harper's fault because of the roster around him. When he got back to the postseason in 2022, he dominated and hit .349 with 12 runs scored, 6 home runs and 13 RBI in 17 games.
Wouldn't it be great if he was yelling this toward the Rays, Blue Jays or Red Sox dugouts?
Even with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the picture at the time, this would've been a seamless addition that gave them the necessary flare for this (largely) character-less team from 2020-2022 (and they really could've used the postseason help in 2018-2019). The Yankees had the money, too, because they paid Gerrit Cole $324 million the very next offseason. And they could've continued to maneuver because they had money coming off the books and could've traded people.
Yup, for example, the Josh Donaldson trade would've never happened. Enjoy trying to sleep tonight!