According to recent hearsay and reports, the Nationals' Bryce Harper would prefer to play for the Chicago Cubs once he becomes a free agent after next season.
On one of CBS’s radio stations’ broadcasts
recently, guest and MLB-insider Peter Gammons told a listener that he has people telling him that Bryce Harper wants to play for the Chicago Cubs. Harper himself has not publicly expressed an interest in playing for any team other than the Washington Nationals, however, more than a few teams would love to have him and are prepared to offer the star player a higher salary and better contract. The New York Yankees are certain to make a bid, and it would be no surprise if the Cubs will also be trying to lure Washington’s franchise player.
Harper recently signed a one-year contract extension with the Nationals and will be making more than in previous seasons. Only 24 years old and with an MVP already under his belt, Harper is in the midst of yet another fantastic season, stat-wise, as a member of a division-leading team likely to make it to the post season. After the 2018 season, however, he will be a free agent.
No matter who he signs with, Harper is very likely to draw a contract worth upwards of $400 million. His high price tag as a star player means that only a few teams will be able to come knocking on the door when the time comes. If the rumors are true, the bad news for Nationals fans is that the Chicago Cubs are one of the teams that have the financial resources to sign him. The Cubs have the sixth highest payroll, and there is little doubt that the club can afford to move up. Their win in the 2016 World Series has made the franchise a lucrative one, and the fact that the Cubs are a historically beloved team only further strengthens their chances of signing a player like Harper. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers may be able to offer more, while the Nationals will have to shell out as much as they can to make a worthwhile offer to retain him.
So, could the rumors be true? A player of Harper’s caliber would certainly want to play for a team that can contend over the long haul and pay the big bucks. Even so, the Nationals are at the top of their division and have been contenders for as long as Harper has been in the league. The franchise’s future doesn’t look too bad, either. There is little doubt that the Cubs can extend a big money contract; ultimately the team Harper wants to play for will have to be one that has both the potential to win the World Series and offer a worthy contract.
A lot can happen in the 18 months before Harper’s contract ends. The potential bidders and the Nationals all have an equal chance of landing the star player -- only Bryce Harper truly knows who he wants to play for.