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The Yankees are in Washington for a two-game series. Bryce Harper is in Washington because he plays for the Nationals. You will never guess what happened next.
Harper is the most visible free agent of a loaded free agent class this offseason and figuring out his destination has been a major storyline in baseball this year. The Yankees media naturally had questions about Harper about the Yankees, and Harper naturally didn’t have many answers.
Bryce Harper shuts down all questions about joining Yankees
As Yankees reporters swarmed Harper to ask about the possibility of signing with the Yankees in free agency, the star took question after question and seemed to respond with the same refrain each time. Per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier, he answered that he is a National right now and he is only focused on this series when it comes to the Yankees.
The Nationals’ regular beat writers seemed somewhat bemused by their counterparts’ efforts.
This isn’t exactly surprising from Harper. He’s self-aware enough to understand any answer accepting the premise of possibly joining the Yankees would spread like wildfire and be a massive distraction for a team in desperate need of a deep playoff run.
Why are the Yankees seen as a destination for Bryce Harper?
Talk of Harper signing with the Yankees has been going on since before Harper’s MLB debut. Back in 2010, he told DC radio that he was a fan of the Yankees growing up (as well as the Cowboys, Lakers and Duke basketball; he might just like winning). That and the fact that he figures to command the biggest contract in MLB history were more than enough for Yankees fans to think they had the best shot of signing the phenom as a free agent.
What’s funny is that, more recently, the Yankees are looking less and less likely that they will need Harper’s services come 2019. They now have two of the best corner outfielders in baseball in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, as well as plenty of depth. Unless someone wants to DH regularly, Harper might be a tight fit on a Yankees team that has leaned into relying on homegrown talent.
Where else could Bryce Harper go in free agency?
There isn’t going to be a shortage of suitors for Harper’s talents this winter. The Nationals are obviously going to try to keep their superstar player. Even going beyond the Yankees, the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Giants and Red Sox are all teams in major markets that plan to contend in the near future. In fact, Harper might have stealthily alluded to such a list of suitors.
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