Sometimes you have to get creative to sign a superstar. For the Yankees, that might mean moving Bryce Harper to first base.
The Yankees might not be content to head into Spring Training with Luke Voit and Greg Bird battling to be the team’s starting first baseman. It’s possible that Brian Cashman views the position as an opportunity to fit Bryce Harper’s bat into his team’s star-studded lineup.
Dan Federico is citing anonymous sources with the team who claim that Yankee officials have reached out to their counterparts with the Nationals to assess Harper’s “makeup and willingness to move positions.” Harper’s athleticism and background as a catcher during his youth make him a logical candidate to move to what’s considered one of the game’s easiest defensive positions.
Some people believe the team’s outfield is too crowded to hand Harper a big contract. We’ve detailed while that’s not necessarily the case, but we acknowledge it’s a bit of an awkward fit. Signing him to become one of the best first basemen in the game could make a lot more sense for the organization.
The question still remains whether or not the Yankees want to pay Harper the mega contract he’s asking for. The team has quite a bit of payroll committed to its current core and several young players will be due big raises in the near future. Adding a 10-year deal for $300 or so million might be too rich of a contract for Hal Steinbrenner to swallow.
It’s also fair to wonder whether or not Harper would be willing to make a position switch. He’s a prideful player who has the athleticism required to be a plus defender in the outfield. Then again, getting a record-breaking contract to play for the Yankees might smooth any hurt feelings over pretty quickly.
The chances of the Yankees signing Harper remain pretty thin, but it’s clear that Cashman and the higher-ups in the organization are evaluating every potential option this winter. The idea that the team has already crossed Harper off their shopping list doesn’t fit Cashman’s philosophy as a front office maven.