Those seemingly inevitable Bryce Harper to the New York Yankees rumors we’ve been waiting for this offseason? They haven’t come yet. And if we’re to believe Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, they might not come at all.
Speaking to media at the winter meetings in Las Vegas on Monday, Cashman sounded like an executive whose team has almost no interest in baseball’s top free agent.
Asked about Bryce Harper, Brian Cashman rattled off the names of his six outfielders and said there’s no spot. Reiterated that playing Harper at first base isn’t an option for the Yankees.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 10, 2018
Let’s be honest, if the Yankees wanted Harper bad enough, they would find a way to make room for him.
Should we buy the Yankees’ lack of interest?
At this point, we probably should. They stayed true to not breaking the bank for top free-agent pitcher Patrick Corbin, instead letting him take a bigger money deal with the Washington Nationals.
Six-time All-Stars who are only entering their age-26 season are pretty much once-in-a-lifetime players. When elite level players become available, we’ve grown accustomed to the Yankees being first in line. But apparently not these Yankees. If they’re giving reasons for not pursuing Harper instead of going all out to sign him, then he’s clearly not a priority.
What are the Yankees priorities?
Adding another top level starting pitcher to go along with Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and the recently acquired James Paxton seems to be Cashman’s primary focus.
There’s also a free agent named Manny Machado, who many believe could provide equal or even greater value than Harper depending on the money involved. He would certainly be a better fit for New York in the short term with shortstop Didi Gregorius expected to be rehabbing his injured elbow until June.
Of course, any commitment to Harper or Machado will be a very long term commitment, and a guy like Machado might be easier to build around.
Where does Bryce Harper’s market stand?
The Washington Nationals feel like they’re out of the running to retain Harper. Between that news and the Yankees assumed lack of interest, the focus is squarely on three teams: The Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and emerging dark horse Chicago White Sox.
Philadelphia says it is prepared to spend “stupid” money, while the Dodgers just spend money period. The White Sox, well, that would be quite a story. Their rebuild is progressing well. Adding Harper would give them an elite producer to help push that rebuild over the top. Not to mention he’d help bring fans back to Guaranteed Rate Field.
It doesn’t feel like a decision is near for Harper. When that time does come, it’s possible the landscape will have changed enough for the Yankees or anyone else to get involved. For now though, Harper and the Yankees aren’t looking like a match.
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