On the surface, Bryce Harper looks like he is made for Hollywood and the Dodgers. That’s his public veneer. Beneath that, though, he was born to be a Yankee.
Bryce Harper, together with his family and agent, Steve Boras, will soon be making a life decision as to where he will play the remainder of his baseball career. The money part of it is easy, and soon all the money he could dream of will arrive at his doorstep, just in time for Christmas. And whether it $300 million or $350 million, Bryce Harper will be, as they say, set for life.
However, with Bryce Harper, it appears to be equally, if not more, a baseball decision which ultimately will outweigh the money.
Bryce Harper reminds of Alex Rodriguez in the sense that A-Rod’s public persona traced to being a jerk, who was fired by an enormous ego that took him places no ballplayer should ever go.
That definition of Rodriguez carried the truth until you heard from his teammates, especially while he was with the Yankees. Here’s a sample from his peers.
Bryce Harper is that kind of player, too. And if there is a criticism of Harper’s style of play, it’s that he cares too much, and the fire that burns within him often moves to become out of control, as it did in his now infamous confrontation with Jonathan Papelbon.
Bryce Harper haters easily rattle off things like; they don’t like his hair, he’s not Mike Trout, and they don’t like his attitude. And besides, they say Harper will never shave his beard if he joins the Yankees and the baseball legends who line Monument Park. Nonsense. Bryce Harper will show up for his signing press conference looking even better than Jacob deGrom after he cut his hair and became a Cy Young winner.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Look at this one (right), and tell me that all we ever wanted to know about Bryce Harper is not there. Is he a fit for the Yankees? No, not without twisting and moving a few pieces on the team. But try telling Aaron Boone not to dream of filling out a lineup card that includes, Harper, hitting second, Aaron Judge third, Gary Sanchez cleanup, and Giancarlo Stanton in the five hole.
Much like the Mariners had to do with Ken Griffey Jr., telling him to “tone it down a bit,” Bryce Harper has learned to take the same advice from the Nationals and to not play as hard as he would like to. In this, imagine the effect Harper could have on someone like Gary Sanchez.
If the claims are real, and there’s no reason to believe they are not, Bryce Harper wants to be a New York Yankee, with dreams of becoming a legend in the same vein as Mickey Mantle. The Yankees can afford him, though it could mean trading Stanton in a couple of years when Judge and Sanchez reach the height of their salary values. But, so what? We’re talking about Number 28 now.
The Yankees have given every indication they are not actively pursuing Harper or Manny Machado. I felt the same way only a few weeks ago. I was wrong, and I’m hoping the Yankees change their mind as well.
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