Bryce Harper’s free agency continues as we inch closer to pitchers and catchers reporting.
Harper and Manny Machado are the two biggest names to hit the market this year, but neither seems to be drawing the interest they hoped.
It is the second off-season in a row that MLB teams have shied away from massive deals for some of the sport’s biggest players.
There seems to be a decent chance that, after years of speculation centered on teams like the Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers, Harper returns to the Washington Nationals.
The franchise drafted him with the No. 1 pick of the 2010 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2012.
It doesn’t sound like a Bryce Harper signing is super imminent, but Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant says his team isn’t adding the 2015 NL MVP.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers tweeted as much after speaking with Bryant:
Kris Bryant said Bryce Harper isn’t signing with the Cubs.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) January 18, 2019
That backs up what Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told ESPN 1000 this morning. He alluded to last year’s big signing as reasons why the team can’t afford to take on Harper this year.
“You make those decisions,’’ Ricketts said in an appearance on ESPN 1000 Friday morning. “Honestly, you look back at last season — 95 wins and it ended in a horribly disappointing way, and everybody feels down. But the (players added in) three big offseason moves all had issues, whether it was injuries or otherwise. Had any of those guys been able to hang in there for a season, it would’ve been a different story.
“Those guys are all coming back and Darvish feels great. Then you throw in (Cole) Hamels for a full year, we got a good team. … But you can’t spend the same dollar twice so you have to make resource allocation decisions. No team has infinite resources.”
We’re sure there’ll be a few more spins of the Harper rumor mill before he lands somewhere, but Chicago seems pretty out of the running at this point.