NEW YORK YANKEES
Until they traded for Giancarlo Stanton last Saturday, the Yankees were considered a top choice for Harper. His hero, Mickey Mantle, wore the number “7”. Harper’s “34” is a tribute. Three plus four equals seven. (Enough math.)
Stanton’s arrival in the Bronx changes the equation.
Harper’s attraction to New York goes beyond Mantle, but the mystique and aura of the Yankees. His ability to add to the legend is a factor. He grew up in the Joe Torre era with October baseball at Yankee Stadium being an annual fixture. Reggie Jackson cemented his legacy even after three championships in Oakland. Alex Rodriguez became loved at the end.
Harper understands you can be a legend in New York without playing your entire career there.
Now, he would share the spotlight with Stanton and Aaron Judge. Judge plays Harper’s position and Stanton figures to DH as he ages.
The allure is there, but the spotlight is not his. Could happen, but harder to see.
If Judge comes close to his 50-plus home run barrage in 2018, then Harper’s leverage drops further. The Yankees will spend whatever they feel makes them money. Is $40 million a year smart for a team loaded with outfield talent?
If Harper wants to be a Yankee, he will. They will not turn him down.