Friday, May 22, 2015

Is Bryce Harper, the childhood Yankee fan, destined for LA?

Once upon a time, it was a fait accompli that Bryce Harper would become a Yankee, when his free agency status arrives in 2019. He'll be only 26... Dellin Betances' age last year. Twenty six.

This week, watching Harper come to bat, Yankee fans needed to wear bibs. We can't help but remember the drooling, slobbery eras when stars like this were destined to wear Pinstripes. Ah, but those were different times under a different ownership.

In 2019, Harper will decide where to play for the rest of his life. He grew up a die-hard Yankee fan. Maybe that gives NY an inside track. But if anybody thinks the Yankees are a certainty, they must have been smoking Randy Levine's red curly hair.

For starters, if the Nats in 2018 see Harper edging to the door, they will trade him, demanding an aircraft carrier of talent in return. Generally, the Yankees don't grow bumper crops on the farm. Nevertheless, the franchise lavished $30 million last summer on 16-year-old Latinos. That
"class of 2014" would be around 20 years old in 2018. Most would be in Single A. Hopefully, the best of them will be highly coveted, rising stars.

We would trade them, of course. The idea would be to get Harper in NY and woo him to stay.

The concern is that Harper becomes MLB's Lebron James - (who is also a big Yankee fan, and many folks thought he would surely end up coming to the Knicks.) - a star of such magnitude that he literally reshapes the dynamics of the league. If so, Harper might want to end up with a team that always contends, in a big market with nice weather, a full tap of supermodels and a media that treats celebrities like gods. Today, that team and market is the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Moreover, Harper as a Little Leaguer probably idolized Don Mattingly.) The Dodgers are currently the new Yankees. They don't seem to be worried about luxury taxes or bad contracts. Their ownership simply wants to win.

And frankly, the Boston Redsocks might be the AL version of the Yankees, too. (But hopefully, if Harper loved the Yankees, he would have hated Boston, right?)

Oh, hell... It's a lifetime away. The Republicans will be in charge, the polar caps will be a broth, California will be burning, and we'll all be dead. Why care? You can't predict baseball, I've heard it said. But, thus far, Hal Steinbrenner excels at finishing second in bidding wars. Let's just hope that in 2019, Yoan Moncada isn't the second best player in baseball. Because Lebron James liked the idea of teaming up with talent.


JM said...

Yankee Stadium is a Beltran throw from the Harlem River. After the water rises, nobody will be playing there by then, anyway.

However, I may be able to leave for work through my 4th-floor walkup window in a rowboat. There's always a silver lining!

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I'm sure Harper idolized a guy who retired when he was barely 3 years old :)