Chicago Cubs: Is Bryce Harper worth the amount he is asking for?

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have been rumored to be a finalist for Bryce Harper.

To say that it’s been a slow-developing offseason for the Chicago Cubs front office would be a massive understatement. With top free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper still available, the market has stalled just a bit, as both guys seem set on waiting for the turn of the calendar year before making a decision on which team they’ll ultimately join.

For Harper in particular, the narrative of whether or not teams are “in” on his services has shifted quite a bit. While many teams have surely checked in with his agent Scott Boras, there were likely only a handful of teams that Harper had in mind going into the biggest offseason of his career.

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Reports have recently surfaced that the Cubs front office had met with Harper and Boras for close to three hours and urged him to hold off on signing with any other team until they had the chance to clear payroll and make him an offer. While a lot still has to happen for the Cubs to actually pull this off, it begs the question, if they somehow did shock the world and land Harper; is he really worth the money he’s asking for?

From my perspective, the answer is a definite yes. But that’s also taking into account the fact that pretty much every star in the league is overpaid. It’s why guys like Kris Bryant and Eloy Jimenez have fallen victim to being held in the minors long enough for organizations to secure an extra year of control. The truth is, players aren’t paid for what they’re going to do, they’re paid for what they’ve done up to the point of free agency. It’s something that everyone knows, yet it is somehow still a huge topic of conversation.

Harper is a generational talent that teams don’t often come by. At the ripe, young age of 26-years-old, he is a rarity concerning typical MLB free agents. While most guys are close to their 30’s by the time they reach the open market, he still has four years to go before even hitting that mark, so a 10-year deal isn’t a crazy as it sounds. His young age also bodes well for his upside moving forward, and only makes his accomplishments to this point all the more impressive.

Many bloggers, reporters and other analysts have poured over his career statistics and have made claims that he’s overrated, but the eye test says otherwise. And beyond that, to suggest that his career numbers, which are nothing to sneeze at, are overrated, is merely a reflection of the large expectations placed on him at a young age.

Harper has received superstar treatment from opposing pitchers from day one. He walks more than anyone in the league, and is easily the one of the most feared hitters in the game. To this point, he hasn’t had a ton of lineup protection around him. But could you imagine slotting him in between a Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, with a Javier Baez behind that? Scary to think about, I know.

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The fact remains that the Cubs won 95 games last season in an injury-plagued year. As tired as this argument is, it doesn’t make it any less true. They are a more than formidable club and adding Harper would only take them to the next level. As far as money goes, the organization has plenty of it, and it’s about time they really start to show it off.