Friday, January 25, 2019

Bryce Harper Will Be A Yankee

Note: This is a prediction... not a report.

Before I get into things after that headline I want to once again address something that many Yankee fans are still clamoring for... Manny Machado.

If you've read my stuff before, here or on Twitter, then you can skip this part as you've heard me say it over and over again.

The Yankees do not need Manny Machado. I don't really understand why they would want him, other than the fact he's an elite hitter at such a young age. Their infield (at least outside of first base, where Manny will not be playing) looks very good with Miguel Andujar, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Didi Gregorius. You can point out that Manny allows the team to let Didi go after this season, but no way would they pay the guy $11.75 million if they planned on letting him go after a partial season.

And then there's the fact that the Yankees are already an extremely right-hand hitting lineup. They could absolutely use a strong left-handed batter, and that's not Machado.

Harper also fits into the lineup much better than Machado would, due to the fact that as of right now it looks like Brett Gardner would get the majority of playing time in left field. And that's not something they should do. Hell, they traded for Andrew McCutchen last season, which showed me they weren't comfortable with having Gardner out there every day. It's not like Brett got better in the offseason.

Now here I am making that bold prediction. So what led me there? Well, I never thought you'd ask...

After what we saw in free agency last offseason, nobody should be surprised that players are not getting offers like they used to. Nor are they getting offers that they really want. Although, to be honest, the fact that Patrick Corbin actually got what he wanted makes this thought moot. Outside of that signing, though, players the past two offseasons have been settling for less money and/or years.

With that in mind here are a few more things that popped into my head...

1. Harper is not going to have to settle for a one year deal, sort of like when a player takes a smaller deal in order to build up his value for the next offseason. While it's possible that we have yet to see Bryce's peak, I don't think his value is going to get any higher than it is now. So waiting for next offseason is pointless. If the new CBA would be enacted for next season, and there wasn't another elite hitter set to be a free agent (Nolan Arenado), then I would perhaps entertain the idea. But that's not the case. Bryce Harper will sign for at least 7 years before Spring Training in 2019.

2. If a player is going to settle for less money, I would imagine they would at least play for a team that they want. Hell, that type of thinking could go for anyone.

Say you're job hunting. You want a certain amount of money, but for whatever reason you can't find a job that will pay that much. But it's getting to crunch time and you have to get a job, so what are you going to do? I'm betting you're going to at least take a job that you will like, rather than one you don't that pays the same.

It's well known that Bryce has always wanted to be a Yankee. So if he's going to get paid less then it makes sense that he'd at least wear pinstripes.

3. There aren't many teams that can afford to pay a player $30+ million a year, especially if that player is on the downside of his career. And let's be honest, although Harper will likely be a very good player in his mid-30s, it's hard to imagine him still being a perrenial MVP candidate at that point.

As for teams that either can, or are willing to, spend that much you have the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, and Yankees.

The Red Sox weren't even willing to spend for a closer, which they need after the loss of Craig Kimbrel, so there's no way they spend nearly twice what they would have on Kimbrel, and for more years.

The Dodgers seem to be set with their outfield after the signing of AJ Pollock. Although it wouldn't totally surprise me to see them swoop in and sign Bryce anyway.

If anyone other than the Yankees sign Harper my guess is he goes to the north side of Chicago. The Cubs have shown the willingness to spend, and like the Dodgers I don't think they'd have a difficult time finding a spot in their outfield for them.

With all the money they've spent on pitching (Corbin became the third starter on their team to receive a contract worth at least $140 million) I don't believe Washington would bring back Harper. Especially since their outfield already looks pretty good. Sure, they apparently offered Bryce a huge deal before, but that was before signing Corbin. I suppose they could surprise me still, but I'm not betting on it.

Other than having the money to do so, and being able to squeeze him into their outfield, the one thing the Yankees have over the Dodgers, Cubs, and Nationals is the designated hitter. Neither LA, Chicago, nor Washington have that extra spot in the batting lineup to shuffle players around in, which is not only a positive for next season but could be integral down the road. Especially when we're talking about a player that isn't going to win any Gold Gloves for his defense.

The way things have gone for me this offseason chances are Bryce signs with another team, and one I didn't even mention here, tomorrow. I suppose that's a good thing no matter what, because the Yankees are still going to be a very strong team in 2019, the "where is Harper going to end up" craziness will end, and that could lead to Manny Machado finally signing soon too.