Bryce Harper is one of the best players in baseball. After next season, Harper could be one of the most sought after MLB free agents in baseball history. Harper is currently under contract with his current team, the Washington Nationals, and will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 season is complete. While many teams will be lining up for a shot to get Harper, the real question is did the Nationals All-Star tip his hand already on where he would like to finish his career?
According to baseball insider Peter Gammons via Bleacher Report, Gammons told 670 The Score on Friday that Bryce Harper's preference is to sign with the World Champion Chicago Cubs when he hits the open market in 2018.
"I have people tell me that Bryce Harper, really, would prefer to play for the Cubs," Gammons said.
Harper isn't scheduled to become a free agent until the 2018 season is complete, however, that won't stop the rumor mill from cranking up from now until the day he announces if he is leaving D.C. or resigning with Nationals. Washington signed Harper to a one-year, $21.6 million deal back in May to avoid arbitration with the four-time all-star.That agreement between the Nationals and Bryce Harper was a big one for many reasons, but the biggest is obviously to see if the Nationals and Harper can come to a long-term deal before the 2018 season concludes. Harper was seemingly happy with the deal, however, he may have been a bit disappointed that the two sides couldn't come to an agreement and strike a long-term deal.
"I think it's huge," Harper said after signing the deal, according to the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes and Jorge Castillo. "We're able to go into the offseason and worry about different things. We're able, as a team and this organization, to just go out and not have to worry about me going into arbitration for another year or anything like that."
One has to believe that deep down Bryce Harper may be a bit frustrated with the lack of a long-term deal, which could make him want to test the market at the end of next season - even if the Washington Nationals make him an offer before so. Right now Harper is considered to be one of the best in the game, so seeing what he can net on the open market is nothing unusual for a superstar player.
As for landing with the Chicago Cubs for the 2018 season, Gammons isn't sure that is likely. Even though there is no salary cap in baseball, Gammons doesn't believe that the Cubs would be able to afford Harper considering they want to hold on to the likes of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo as well.
"Somehow I don't think it's going to be affordable to have Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant on the same team," Gammons said. "It's a great idea, I'd love to see it. I respect them both so much, personally and professionally. But I don't think it's going to ever happen."
So far this season, Harper has 15 home runs, 43 RBI and is hitting.328. With numbers like that, Harper is on pace to have one of his best seasons as a pro. In his five-plus season with the Nationals, Harper has hit a total of 137 home runs and driven in 377, making his average numbers per season stand at 27 home runs and close to 80 RBI.
If the Nationals believe they can't keep Bryce Harper, they may try to deal him away sometime next season. After all, getting something in return for one of the best hitters in the game is better than watching Harper walk away.
[Featured Image by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]