Scratch another MLB team off the list of prospective Bryce Harper buyers.
According to a new report by ESPN Cubs reporter Jesse Rodgers, the Chicago Cubs are not interested in Bryce Harper. In fact, they’re not even being coy about it anymore.
Asked whether his team was considering signing the free agent this offseason, Cubs Manager Joe Maddon answered flatly, “Not going to happen. Let’s move on.”
Fan question to Joe: “What are the chances of Bryce Harper?” Maddon, no pause: “Not going to happen.” Jim Deshaies: “Lets move on”
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) January 16, 2019
It’s not exactly a secret that the Cubs are hesitant to spend lavishly this year. They’re clocking in at around a $200 million payroll this offseason, which sets a new team record. Harper, it’s estimated, could fetch up to $400 million on his own — not exactly a bargain for a team trying to tighten its purse strings.
Which puts the target on a few other teams’ backs. For what it’s worth, Harper has already expressed clear interest in Chicago. The White Sox seem to be circling the outfielder and are poised to make a large-scale deal if they want a fighting chance at the playoffs. The Philadelphia Phillies, on the other hand, are basically parading their money around like it’s a board game prop, bragging recently that they’re prepared to spend “stupid” money if it comes down to it. (RELATED: This Team Keeps Upping The Stakes For Bryce Harper. But Is This Their Most Aggressive Move Yet?)
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We’re going to have to wait and see where Harper ends up, but for now, we can cross the Chicago Cubs off the shrinking list of contenders.
Sorry, Bill Murray.