TMZ would speak to the New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge. They would ask Judge about Bryce Harper. And Judge would give a perfect response (as he usually does), “Wherever he wants to play, we’ll make it work.” The potential addition of a superstar like Bryce Harper is tantalizing. And we’ll explain three reasons a “Pillow” contract for Bryce Harper with the Yankees could make sense.
Big Lefty Bat
The New York Yankees were always known for having “Big Lefty Sluggers.” Think about the iconic stars in their history, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Reggie Jackson. And even more recently the likes of Hideki Matsui, and Robinson Cano. But over the last few years, the Yankees have only had one “big” slugger, and that’s Didi Gregorius. When Didi came over he was not considered a threat at the plate. But through hard work, Didi has become one of the Bombers best and a favorite among the Bronx faithful. But this season Gregorius will start the season on the DL recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Thus the injury to Didi leaves a void and unbalances a thinly balanced lineup when Gregorius is in there.
The Yankees have a ton of power in the lineup, but it’s all right-handed. Now the like of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Giancarlo Stanton are all capable of driving the ball over the right-field wall with ease. But adding a lefty in between them helps extend the lineup and balance the attack. This is where slotting in Bryce Harper makes a ton of sense. Not only is Bryce a lefty bat but he works count and can drive the ball all over the yard. Add in the bonus of Bryce not needing to “Get all of it” to hit homers in Yankee Stadium, and you add to the appeal. Yes, I am biased I love Bryce as a player, and since his first SI cover at 16-years-old I have wanted him to be a Yankee. But I am not the only one that wants this, and it leads to my next point
3 + 4 = 7
It is plain to see that Bryce Harper wears number 34. It is also no secret why Bryce wears number 34. If you have been living under a rock or refuse to pay attention, Bryce wears number 34 because three plus four equals seven and seven is the number Mickey Mantle wore with the New York Yankees. Mantle is a favorite of Bryce, because of his father, Ron. Harper has made several references to wearing the pinstripe at some point in his career, and 2019 can easily be that point in his career. This offseason would represent the absolute best time for Harper to don the pinstripes he has dreamed of wearing since his youth. And at 26-years-old the time to strike and work out a deal would be now.
Strike While the Irons…Cool?
Here we are, and it is February 6th, pitchers and catchers report next week, and we have two “regular season” games taking place in just two weeks from tomorrow. (Seattle Mariners take on Oakland A’s from Tokyo, Japan.) And yet the biggest stars on the free agent market have not signed. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain free agents looking for the top level money everyone expected to be readily available this offseason. That, however, has not been the case. The closer we get to Spring Training the more likely these players are to consider shorter term higher annual value deals. That mindset, in turn, will benefit the Yankees pursuit of a generational talent like Bryce Harper. The deal would be weird and strange and unorthodox or any other verbiage you want to use to describe a set of offseasons that have seemingly been devoid of big money deals. If the Boras Corporation and the New York Yankees could find a middle ground on a shorter term deal, Bryce could find his way to the Bronx.
What the Deal Could Look Like
A three year deal with an opt-out after two worth $100 million ($67 million if opts-out.) Or a two year deal for $70-75 million. Or go really wild and offer a one year (real pillow contract) for an unprecedented $40 million. While not the long term $400 to half a billion dollars that Scott Boras initially sold Bryce on when he signed him to Boras Corp, Bryce could easily add significant value to himself as a 27-year-old in the 2019 offseason market. Imagine, Bryce as a New York Yankee with the short rightfield porch for 81 home games. And continue imagining if you will that Bryce goes off playing with a chip on his shoulder. (Because Harper plays better that way). And imagine that Bryce Harper will 50, 55, or even 60 home runs in 2019 and re-entering the market. With that type of season under his belt, Bryce would be top priority number one.