You let a perfect free agent lefty bat who dreamed of playing center field (and first base, if he had to) for the New York Yankees languish on the market until spring training without even a call? Atta-boy, Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman.
Argue all you want over Cashman's process vs. results. Disagree on whether it was wise to plummet to the levels of Frankie Montas after missing on Luis Castillo. Bicker over trading four pieces of 40-man roster chum for Joey Gallo, an historic chemistry mismatch. On this issue, though, there can be no debate. When Cashman arrogantly and defiantly opted out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, then bragged about how unnecessary he was for the Yankees' depth chart, that should've sealed his fate and shuttled him up the ladder to a "fake promotion," out of the decision-making business.
Ok, grandpa. Sure, sure, you have six outfielders. Yes, yes, Clint Frazier will be here forever, he definitely hasn't already suffered a concussion. Let's get you a spoonful of warm cinnamon and put you to bed. No need to take Harper up on his offer to learn first base. There's no way he'll be doing that in five years for the defending NL Champions, putting the team repeatedly on his back and walloping gorgeous left-handed homers high into the right field stands, using Orlando Arcia's mocking calls as fuel.
Harper is signed through 2031, when he'll be the ripe old age of (gah!) 38. He makes a pittance base salary of $26 million annually, until it becomes $22 million in his later years. He'll be a Phillie for life, after the rough-and-tumble city of Philadelphia found him. Of course, once upon a time, he was a Monument Park-visiting, Mickey Mantle-idolizing, pinstripe-dreaming slugger in his 20s looking to live out a childhood dream at Yankee Stadium.
But, thanks to the handiwork of Brian Cashman, the best we can do for him these days is "embarrassing the Yankees face-to-face if New York is ever lucky enough to make it to a World Series again." After the way he's treated Arcia, imagine how he'll treat the franchise of his dreams that blocked his number.
Yankees' Baby Bombers Era ended the second they didn't sign Bryce Harper
You know what Cashman said at the start of Harper's free agency. But perhaps he came around at some point and realized exactly what he was missing out on, rushing to the altar and banging on the glass to beg Harper to give him a second chance? The Baby Bombers were promising. They really were. Aaron Judge could've used a "hardened" 26-year-old to usher him through the rigors of the bigs (lol, Harper is six months younger than Judge). Gary Sánchez could've used a "get on my back and get behind me" guy in his languid younger years. Luis Severino could've used a fist-pumping buddy on offense.
So, what was Ninja Cash's reaction to Harper eventually landing on the Phillies? Late regret? An all-encompassing realization of what was lost? A whining, crying backtrack?
"SNY's Andy Martino reported on Oct. 29 that the Yankees didn't plan to pursue free agent Bryce Harper, and GM Brian Cashman confirmed Sunday that the team was never in on him. And he was succinct about it.- SNY
'No,' Cashman told reporters Sunday.
'We're up and running with what we've got,' he added, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. We're excited about what we've got. We're hoping that's enough, but always looking to improve over the course of time if it fits within certain parameters.'"
And they haven't really been "up and running" since.
Harper's throat slash on Wednesday night was for Orlando Arcia specifically, but it also served as a continuation of the one he metaphorically delivered to the Yankees, circa March 2019. Every time he homers in a crucial October showdown, Cashman should feel a phantom pain. This should haunt him eternally, no matter how many "outfielders" he believes he has, at any given time, in the fever dream inside his mind.
Rest well, Cash. Your career will end someday, several years too late. And Harper will still be in Philadelphia making Giancarlo Stanton's money and making mincemeat of his enemies. Due to a series of unforced errors, you put yourself on that list.