The talk of the offseason which started at the beginning of this past season is who is going to sign Bryce Harper. After being on the cover of Sport’s Illustrated at the age of 16 back in 2009, people were already saying that he will be a New York Yankee all day. Of course, that was as big of a stretch as you can get back then compared to now as he very well could be a Yankee at the start of the 2019 regular season.
Harper after disappointing seasons, team-wise, with the Washington Nationals throughout his career so far is looking for a team built to win. The Yankees certainly have plenty of pieces for a winning team, and they are looking for the one or two keys to puzzle that could be their 28th World Series championship. Many people, including myself, did say that the Yankees will not be signing Harper due to the surplus of outfielders and the massive contract that he is seeking. However, since Harper made it clear that he would be willing to move to first base it is not much more likely.
Greg Bird, the man who is supposed to be the Yankees’ first baseman for a long time, has not panned out and mainly due to health. Luke Voit did a spectacular job filling in for him in 2018 and even to the point where he was granted a spot on the postseason roster while Bird did not. Also, Harper moving to first base for an American League team could be for the best since his defensive metrics have gone down over the years plus, he has had a few injuries over the years and being able to be the designated hitter from time to time could make him more durable.
So, in theory the Yankees do have room and the means to sign Harper; the question is will be he worth the signing? Harper just turned 26 is has been an All-Star six times and was the Most Valuable Player in the National League in 2015. Harper will be looking to collect his 1000th hit and 200th homerun early in the 2019 season and you really cannot complain about someone at that age with a career OPS of .900. Harper even for a while was in the same conversation as Mike Trout for the “best player in baseball” title. While there are reasons why he is, he is without a doubt a part of the elite players in the game right now.
One issue that has been brought up for the years with Harper is his presence in the clubhouse. Perhaps playing for a team like the New York Yankees without having to switch managers every other year and on top of that not being the absolute center of attention on the team will alleviate those issues. The key word there is “perhaps”. Do you sign someone for an enormous contract based on speculations? That is a tale as old as time.
The Yankees have other priorities to be concerned about, they could figure out an answer for first base some other way while putting their focus on what is more important. For example, pitching. This is not to write off a Bryce Harper signing completely; the Yankees just have to be absolutely sure that it is the move they want to make