After years of anticipation, Bryce Harper is finally set to hit the free agent market. The 26-year-old is expected to draw a lot of attention this offseason, as he has become of baseball’s most premier players.
The 2018 baseball season hasn’t ended yet, but that hasn’t stopped the rumors from circulating.
Harper has his mind set on receiving a big payday in the near future. According to multiple reports, the six-time all-star is looking for at least a 10 year, $350 million dollar contract this winter. If he signs a deal with these terms, Harper would become the highest paid player in Major League Baseball history.
Over his big league career, Harper has posted a slash line of .279/.388/.512 over 927 games.He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award and took home a Silver Slugger award for the 2015 season.
Although he is coming off a “down year” for his standards, Harper still put up pretty solid numbers during the 2018 campaign. In 159 games, Harper posted a slash line of .249/.393/.496 while slugging 34 home runs and driving in 100 runs in the process.
So, how does Harper’s pending free agency impact the Yankees?
For starters, Harper has been linked to the Yankees on numerous occasions. It’s been well-documented how Harper idolizes Mickey Mantle, and it’s believed that Harper would want the chance to play for the team that his favorite player represented for 18 years.
Let’s not forget the fact that Harper is one of the best players in baseball. Without a doubt, Harper has the ability to make any team better, and would be a powerful presence in the middle of the Yankees lineup. In a lineup that lacks a lot of left-handed presence (especially with the injury to Didi Gregorius) adding Harper into the mix would help balance the lineup.
Playing home games in the Bronx would definitely benefit Harper offensively. His powerful left-handed swing is built for Yankee Stadium, given the short porch in right field.
It’s also not often that one of the best players in the sport hits free agency at such a young age. Harper, who just turned 26 a few weeks ago, still has a lot of good baseball left in him, and he still hasn’t even hit his prime!
Now, this all sounds like a match made in heaven, but is Harper really a fit in the Bronx?
Before we get into the financial situation, let’s look at the current Yankees outfield. The Bronx Bombers have a logjam of outfielders, including Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton. Last offseason, the Yankees took on Stanton’s contract, which is set to pay him a ton of money through the 2028 season.
Along those same lines, do the Yankees really want to sign another player to a long-term deal? The Yankees have recently worked tirelessly to get under the $197 million dollar luxury tax threshold. Are they really looking to shell out a record breaking contract?
As the offseason approaches, it will be interesting to see if the Yankees make a run for Bryce Harper. Yes, he is a once in a generation type of player, but is he a fit in the Bronx for the long-haul?