Washington Nationals: Handicapping the Bryce Harper sweepstakes

dkelly
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 01: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals walks back to the dugout after a line out to first during the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 01: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals walks back to the dugout after a line out to first during the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs Bryce Harper
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 26: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals and Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs talk during their game at Nationals Park on June 26, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have long been a suspected destination for Bryce Harper once he hit free agency. That speculation came to a screeching halt when the Cubs had to trade Drew Smyly in order to clear some money to pick up Cole Hamels‘ $20 million option. Then, hours after Hamels’ option was picked up, Buster Olney dropped this bombshell:

Being that the Cubs have nearly $165 million in payroll commitments before arbitration, it’s certainly possible that the purse strings are tied a little bit tighter than anybody initially thought. The Cubs payroll could easily top $200 million after arbitration without having signed one player in free agency.

There’s no question that Harper would add another dynamic bat to this already potent lineup. Not to mention, I hear he and Kris Bryant are friends.

It just seems like Cubs ownership is determined to punish Theo Epstein this offseason for swinging and missing on the huge free agent contracts handed out to Jason Heyward and Yu Darvish. I can’t imagine that Harper would be a swing and a miss for any team, but it’s possible that one more miss on a $100+ million contract could put the Cubs in a financial headache for years to come.

Odds of signing Harper: 20 to 1

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