Regardless of what the New York Yankees say during the early parts of this offseason, they will continuously be linked to free-agent megastar Bryce Harper.
And that speculation won’t stop until he’s signed and holding up the jersey of another team.
It gained even more traction earlier this week when Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, told MLB Network Radio that the 26-year-old right fielder would be a more-than-capable first baseman.
The Yankees don’t have an every-day first baseman, though Luke Voit mashed in his limited stint with the club after being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals.
Putting Harper at first would allow the Yankees to keep their outfield intact and most importantly, keep Aaron Judge in right field.
Yet the Las Vegas native who grew up a Yankees fan and dreamed of calling the Bronx his home is going to carry a hefty price tag. So hefty, in fact, that it is expected to exceed the $300 million mark after he turned down a 10-year offer for that much from the Washington Nationals, the team he spent the first seven years of his career with.
The Yankees are already paying some incredibly large contracts, including that of Giancarlo Stanton, who was acquired from the Miami Marlins last winter.
He has 10 years left on a 13-year, $325 million contract where he’ll be making between $26 million and $32 million every year through the 2028 season.
It remains to be seen if the Yankees want to have a decade more of Stanton’s style of play. There is no question that he brings an enormous power surge to an already-offensive lineup. However, he struck out a career-high 211 times and had a difficult postseason that saw him draw the ire of the fanbase.
In order to afford Harper, the Yankees might have to explore the option of dealing Stanton, who has a no-trade clause. It is believed though that he could waive it if he was offered a move closer to his home of Panorama City, CA. That would mean a trade to either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Angels.
Getting his deal off the books would not only allow the Yankees to sign Harper and play him every day at first base but would not break the bank should they pursue big-name pitchers to improve their greatest weakness, the starting rotation.