Chicago Cubs fans hoping for the team to get involved in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes haven’t had much to celebrate this offseason, but as the winter continues to drag on, rumblings are growing louder that the North Siders could potentially get into the race for his services.
The latest such rumor comes from FanCred’s Jon Heyman, who spoke on MLB Network about the chances of a big market team like the Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers getting in on the Harper sweepstakes.
“At this point, I think it might be more likely it would be the Cubs that would look at Harper,” he said.
The Cubs have been telling everyone (at least it seems that way from the slew of reports about potential limitations) that they are under budget constraints for next season, and the team is likely looking to avoid having to pay the luxury tax, a penalty for exceeding the upper limit of the baseball salary scale.
Heyman’s report would seem to indicate that the Cubs might look into freeing up some money, which they could do by unloading a contract like Jason Heyward’s or Ben Zobrist’s, and that they could get into the Harper fray by doing so.
That stance would jibe with a report that emerged last week that the Cubs met with Harper during the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas and requested that he and his agent Scott Boras come back to them if they received an offer to see if the Cubs could clear payroll to match it.