Cubs reportedly not out of the running for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are trying to improve a Cubs’ roster that fell well short of expectations a year ago with very little flexibility in the payroll. The Cubs were believed to be one of the teams interested in signing Harper once he hit free agency. But with a tight budget, the Cubs were ruled out of the Harper sweepstakes several weeks ago.
Gordon Wittenmyer reported in the Sun-Times Saturday that Epstein and Hoyer met with Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, for “as long as three hours.” Wittenmyer said his sources indicated “Epstein urged them to wait before accepting an offer from another team until the Cubs had a chance to try to move some payroll off the books and check again with ownership.”
Bruce Levine reported Sunday the Cubs “have no more payroll flexibility today than they had since the budget was set in late October.” Levine is not sure if the payroll for the 2019 season will not change once the Cubs workout the financials of the new TV/broadcast network. But, as Levine pointed out, that money would not be added until April 2020.
Epstein and Hoyer have quite a bit of work to do in the next two months leading up to the beginning of Spring Training. Moving payroll appears to be key at this point, whether that would be used to sign Harper or help fill the holes in the bullpen, is unknown at this point. Stay tuned …