While it might not amount to much at the end of the day, a recent update on the still-ongoing Bryce Harper sweepstakes suggests that there might be a few other teams who previously threw their names in the hat in hopes of signing the 26-year-old slugger. These teams, however, are still considered “long shots” and likely not in the category of “true” mystery teams with a legitimate chance of signing Harper.
In a radio interview Monday with Jon Marks and Ike Reese on Philadelphia station 94 WIP, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman noted that there have been several teams who had shown interest in Harper since he entered free agency late last year. These teams, he said, include the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves, though as NBC Sports Chicago suggested, Heyman’s mention of those teams doesn’t indicate that they will make another offer for Harper in the coming days.
“At some point in this, the Cubs have checked in, the Braves have checked in, different teams there’s only been hints of them being involved,” NBC Sports Chicago quoted Heyman as saying.
“I would say that teams have checked in that we haven’t heard much of, or anything of, but whether they are really a true mystery team that has a real shot, I wouldn’t vouch for it.”
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Heyman further stressed that the Cubs and Braves are both considered “long shots” at this point in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. He added that nothing much has changed as far as the favorites are concerned, as the Philadelphia Phillies are still the team “that makes the most sense,” with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants completing the top three most likely destinations for the six-time All-Star right fielder.
Heyman’s comments about the Cubs showing interest in Harper at some point in the offseason are in line with an earlier NBC Sports Chicago report, which suggested in December the team “urged” the player and his representatives to wait before agreeing to sign with another club. However, that report also noted that the Cubs have recently dealt with their share of financial issues, given how they spent a lot of money on pitchers Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, and Brandon Morrow in the 2018 offseason.
Meanwhile, there haven’t been any significant rumors linking Bryce Harper to the Atlanta Braves in any way, shape, or form prior to Heyman’s remark that the team “checked in” on him. Like the Cubs, the Braves weren’t mentioned in Todd Zolecki’s MLB.com piece on Sunday, which listed a host of potential mystery teams for Harper, including a few whom he described as very long shots to sign the superstar outfielder.