Justin Dukes covers the Chicago Cubs and their developments for WARR.com
Amid a complete domination of the Miami Marlins last weekend, reports surfaced that Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals has an interest in donning Cubbie blue at the point of his free agency concluding the 2018 season.
However, his interest is more barber shop talk than substantial with the amount of obstacles in the way to prevent this from happening.
The obvious selling point for Harper joining the Cubs is his relationship with childhood friend Kris Bryant of the Cubs. With both stars having grew up in Las Vegas — leaving long trails of awards and accomplishments along the way — a natural line of thinking is that this could be a pairing that’s meant to happen.
Unfortunately, the North Siders still have needs and investments to commit to within their own organization, as chock-full of young talent as it is. Yes, a talent like Harper would be a large, sensible addition to satisfy the proverbial “super team” aesthetic that seems to trend in sports today. However, unlike in the NBA, the relocation of a big name could mean very little in the grand scheme of things, even to the team that gets the world-renowned talent.
Safe to say, the Cubs will have interest in investing in Bryant when his contract gets close to expiring, that may take upwards of $35-40 million a season to lock him down. And with many indications Harper is chasing possibly MLB’s biggest pay day, it is just hard to envision a commitment to two such grand-sized contracts like that on one team.
Charging back towards the top spot in the National League Central Division by way of their recent five-game win streak, the Cubs’ hitters quite possibly are hitting their stride in their hopeful repeat season. With many of the young hitters on the club approaching salary arbitration and with more team success to be had, the belief is that this series of upcoming transactions will be one of the roadblocks in signing Harper.
Another roadblock to the Harper sweepstakes will likely be the Cubs’ need to solidify their pitching core. Thankfully, after claiming their World Series title last season, the Cubs have earned the right to at least make not so obvious calls on major or minor tweaks the organization needs.
Funny enough, Harper’s Nationals are currently presiding in the number one spot in the National League East division at 37-20 and could be a main pennant foe for the Cubs over the next two seasons, and with the potential of Harper also playing for the New York Yankees — one of the few franchises whose celebrity platform rivals the Cubs — the reality of Harper playing for the North Side is looks more and more bleak.
To the point, the Cubs in recent memory have been far from a free agent hot bed, only until the last couple seasons has that been the case. But with the formula that delivered them a World Series title well intact, there shouldn’t be any rush for the Cubs to make risky box office moves over sober, winning ones.
Justin Dukes is a Chicago-based sports writer, follow him on Twitter @1kingzdream.