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The Cubs are offloading talent this offseason, but did it have to be this way?
In February of 2019, Bryce Harper signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on a massive 13-year, $330 million deal, entrusting essentially the rest of his career to the City of Brotherly Love. Yet, it almost wasn’t this way, according to Harper’s friend and Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant.
Per Bryant, Harper had significant interest in signing with the Cubs. Heck, the two didn’t hide their desire to play together, even posting an Instagram photo with the caption #Back2backOneday”. Harper and Bryant went out to dinner in Chicago, in which Bryce revealed to his close friend that the Cubs were at the top of his list. So, what went wrong?
The Cubs opted not to sign Harper in the end
“We went out to dinner one night at Steak 48 there, in Chicago,” Bryant said on Red Line Radio, a Barstool Sports podcast. “We were just talking and I said, ‘Man, it would be so cool if you came to Chicago.’ And he said, ‘Honestly, it’s top of my list.’ I thought we really had a chance to get him. I kind of forget the situation and who we signed, or whatever, but he really loves Chicago. He loves coming to the city, eating there. I mean, who doesn’t like coming to Chicago? I’m kind of bummed out that we missed out on that opportunity.”
Harper is leading his own franchise in Philadelphia, and it’s clear from the Cubs’ perspective that they did not view this current crop of homegrown stars as a long-term solution. Such is why Bryant himself is likely on the way out, either via trade or eventually free agency.
Adding Harper might have delayed that timeline a bit, but the Ricketts’ family needed little more out of this Cubs’ core than ending the World Series drought. That’s a significant accomplishment, but we can’t blame Bryant and Cubs fans for playing devil’s advocate.