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.
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