Report: Bryce Harper Discussions Beginning in Earnest, Cubs Are “In”

Despite their oft-discussed plans to limit spending this winter, you knew the Cubs were at least going to check in on Bryce Harper. And according to 670 The Score’s Dan Bernstein, that is exactly what’s starting to happen. Taking a break from college football talk for a few moments Friday afternoon, Bernstein shared a little information on the Harper situation, which may be gaining a little steam at this point.

“I’ve been told that the discussions regarding Bryce Harper’s future are beginning in earnest, where it isn’t just sort of the kabuki theater of the meetings,” Bernstein relayed. “The dance is starting. And I am told that, at this point, the Cubs are in.

“I don’t want to overplay this, and there’s no real indication of the seriousness of any of the teams involved, but I do get the sense that for the moment…it hasn’t gotten too rich for their blood yet. There’s a lot of showmanship that goes on with (Scott) Boras clients.”

While it’s a tantalizing topic in general, the nature of Bernstein’s report is quite a bit more objective than some of the recent Cubs news we’ve gotten. He tempered everything by admitting that little is know about the situation as far as any of the teams are concerned and he presented it all very plainly and without unnecessary fanfare.

“I think the proper response to that is, ‘Of course they are,’ Bernstein continued. “They should be. It’s their job to be, because they are the Cubs and it would be dumb if they are not involved at this point. But they are indeed one of the teams that has declared their interest and is going to be part of the discussions going forward until they don’t want to be part of it anymore.”

I mean, yeah, that’s pretty much what anyone should have expected, even those of us who totally buy the veracity of the reports that the Cubs won’t spend what it’ll take to land Harper. After all, this could simply be a matter of the Cubs doing their due diligence and playing ball with Boras, who also represents some of their current players.

Given what has gone on and is yet to unfold with Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, it’s never a bad idea to buy a ticket to Boras’s annual dog and pony show. Of course, there’s also the notion that the Cubs are hoping Harper is so inclined to play in Chicago that they can somehow land him at a discount.

That’s far from unprecedented, as several of their current players signed free-agent deals for less money to play in Chicago. Harper is still going to command a massive contract no matter what, but perhaps it could be structured in such a way that it’s more palatable to ownership. Or maybe the realization of additional revenue from new broadcast and streaming deals, not to mention the recent ticket increase, will grease the wheels just enough to keep them from squeaking.

I’m not sure that last mixed metaphor made any sense, but the bigger point is that things can change and nothing is really known for sure. Harper hinted that he loves Chicago cuisine and he’s been dropping teasers via social media for the last year or more, so there’s that. But recent odds favor the Phillies, who team owner John Middleton says might be “a little stupid” when it comes to spending this winter.

And this whole thing is really just getting started, so expect to keep hearing more reports like this over the next few weeks. You can listen to the entire discussion, which starts at the 15:20 mark, via the embedded player below.


  1. Like the Cubs were never “in” on him. I thought it was just plain silly smoke screen to keep the prices down. Maybe that play won’t work with a potential HOF player in his prime available. I don’t think we have seen this type of hitter since Bonds was available…and like Bonds, I expect Harper to only get better through his mid-30s.

    1. But unlike Bonds, Harper isn’t juicing. That is why he was so great into his 30s. Not saying Harper won’t be good into his 30s, but it’s rediculous to compare him to Bonds. To say Harper will get better through his mid-30s is one.of the dumbest comments I’ve heard. Do you even follow baseball?

      1. Obviously, you are the one who doesn’t follow the game. Bonds was a great player, MVP level clearly BEFORE he juiced. Go watch some video of him in a Pirates uniform 90-92 and adjust your flawed thinking. He became ridiculous AFTER juicing, but he could still be considered the best of his time when he weighed <210. As to players getting better from their mid 20s to mid 30s, there are plenty of examples. Some flashed brilliance prior, but could arguably called better/more consistent during those years…Beltre, Cabrera, Edmonds, Moises Alou, Edgar Martinez. Harper will likely be a greater than 3 WAR player annually (if you subtract his one monster year), so the statement that "I expect Harper to only get better" does apply and is a pretty safe bet.

  2. This is supposed to be Cubs INSIDER. Where is the INSIDE info? I’ve been writing for a long time, and I’ve accumulated some good sources over the years, and believe me, the Cubs are not going to sign Harper. They don’t want to be seen as cheap so they propagate (or at least encourage) these reports, and gullible Cubs fans fall for them. Ricketts simply isn’t going to spend the money necessary to allocate that much to one player over 10+ years. He is happy with his World Series title and now wants to collect his money. Don’t get me wrong – he would be thrilled to win another one, but not at the cost it will take to fix all of Theo’s mistakes (Heyward; Darvish; Chatwalk, etc). In Boston, he made similar mistakes such as Crawford, as his free agent signing history isn’t especially good. But he could get out of it by spending more, drafting well and making the occasional solid trade. But here, the draft is based largely on info from McLeod, and he needs to go. But he’s Theo’s buddy.

    I guarantee you Harper isn’t going to be wearing a Cubs uni next year and beyond. The Sox are much more serious contenders for his services than the Cubs.

    1. The off season may be a good time to catch upon reading. May I suggest “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie?

    2. Wow, Bobby, you sound like someone who should be taking over this site. But before you do, perhaps your first step should be to read what’s written on it. Like how I acknowledged the reports (yes, we’ve got sources too) about the Cubs’ lack of desire to spend what it’ll take to get Harper. Of course, Theo Epstein himself has been vocal about that. Or perhaps you could go back to some older pieces, like the one from a couple weeks back in which were the first (or at least among them) to suggest the Cubs wouldn’t be legit pursuers of Harper.

      Appreciate the patronage, but you may want to consider gathering more information before showing your rear end with a comment like that.

  3. As Evan suggests, it’s not surprising that they are in the game – albeit still not likely that they sign him. Never say never though, as a lot can change during an off-season. What if they did somehow unload Chatwood? What if Bryant says “you sign Harper and I’ll do an extension”? Yes, far fetched I realize – but you just never know.

    This being said, I am not a writer and have no sources that are not publicly available.

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